4 Fabulous February Festivals on the French Riviera

  1. Nice Carnival, Nice | 11 February – 25 February 2017

One of the world’s biggest carnivals, the 2017 theme for this annual event is ‘King of the Energy’.  Fabulous flower battles, parades with floats and costumed actors and animations ensure a family-friendly event with plenty of entertainment.

My top tips:  Don’t forget if you dress in fancy dress, you get FREE standing entry for Zones A and B for the Corso Carnavalesque and Corso Carnavalesque illuminé.  Persons with disabilities also get FREE entry for standing Zone B for the Corso Carnavalesque and Corso Carnavalesque illuminé.

Watch a video of last year’s Carnaval de Nice below (courtesy of Nice Côte d’Azur Tourism) highlighting what to expect during this 2-week party:

2. Fête du Citron, Menton | 11 February – 01 March 2017

Menton’s wonderfully zesty Lemon Festival is bringing ‘Broadway’ to the Mediterranean with a dash of show-stopping citrus sculptures, parades and music.  Read more about how to make the most of your visit to the Fête du Citron in 2017 in my blog post Fête du Citron 2017

Fête du Citron 2017's theme is 'Broadway'


3. Fête du Mimosa, Mandelieu la Napoule | 15 February – 22 February 2017

A welcome end to winter days with the brilliant mimosa flowers in the streets of Mandelieu la Napoule for the Fête du Mimosa.  Head along for flower battles, music and animations based around the yellow blooms.

Find out more about the festival schedule at Fête du Mimosa


Fête du Mimosa in Mandelieu la Napoule

Fête du Mimosa in Mandelieu la Napoule

4. Festival International des Jeux, Cannes | 24 February – 26 February 2017

A super festival for families with all types of exhibitions with classic and contemporary board games, video games, simulators, toys, sci-fi and fantasy games, wooden games, models, collector cards and more!

Entrance is free, however this year they have introduced a new VIP option (payable for 1 or 3 days) where you get discounts and goodies from show participants.  A great festival for school age children.

My top tip:  They have a coat check facility but be advised it is €2 per item.

Find out the full programme and list of exhibitors here Festival International des Jeux

Festival International des Jeux in Cannes is a great festival for families

Festival International des Jeux in Cannes is a great festival for families


Images:  Fête du Citron, France Bleu, Daily Mars, D&F



Activities/Sightseeing – NICE (Carnaval de Nice, 14 February-04 March 2014)

The Carnaval de Nice 2014 (Nice Carnival) is coming soon and is one of the biggest events on the French Riviera, held this year between 14 February and 04 March.

Until the eighteenth century, the ‘Carnaval’ consisted of masked balls and food fights in the streets of Vieux Nice.  During major military and political turmoil caused by the French Revolution and the First Napoleanic Empire, festivities were put on hold.  In 1830, the first parade was held where carriages/floats were marched past the King and Queen and set the tone for the future of the carnival.

Today, care is taken choosing an annual theme – 2014’s theme is ‘King of Gastronomy’ – and the creation of the floats uses modern technology, textiles and amazing work of sculptors.


‘King of Gastronomy’ – Nice Carnaval theme 2014 (image courtesy of Nice Carnaval website / Nice Tourism Office)

I highly recommend this event if you live in the region or are visiting.


– Tickets can be pre-purchased online at www.nicecarnaval.com and you print an e-ticket. Saves time having to collect tickets!  Or you can buy tickets from 27 January, at the Tourism Office (Office du Tourism et des Congrès) at 5 promenade des Anglais in Nice (there are various other ticket booths located near the parade route for pre-parade sales but as this is a popular event you will be battling lots of people and congestion pre-parade).  If you purchase online, refer to the parade map in this link to check seat numbers plan-tribune

–  Adult tickets cost €35 for 2 events (excluding Saturdays). Children under 6 years are free of charge when seated on a paying adult’s lap. Kids 6-12 years – tickets cost between €5-€10.  Note:  There is FREE ENTRANCE on 14 February from 8.30pm for the opening of the Carnival, and also 04 March from 8.30pm for the Burning of the King float and fireworks at Place Massena.

– There are rates for persons with reduced mobility and their accompanying person. €5 in standing area, or €10 in reserved seating or €10 in a wheelchair area with raised level.  The wheelchair area will be located opposite the Tourism Office (5 promenade des Anglais).  Carparking with disabled spaces is nearest on rue des Congrès. All of these rates must be booked via French Nice Tourist Office, their email resa.nice@otc.com  If you speak English and need assistance reserving these tickets please contact me on accessriviera06@gmail.com and I can help you.

– Parade routes will be closed 2 hours prior to each parade. Bear this in mind when arriving to the parade by car.


previous Nice Carnival float (image courtesy of Nice Carnaval.com / Nice Tourisme Office)

– Many Nice hotels offer ‘Carnival’ accommodation rates for families. Some participating hotels are Novotel Nice Centre and Best Western Roosevelt. View accommodation rates online at http://en.nicetourisme.com/special-offer

I am hoping to take my son to the opening evening, and the closing evening so with some planning on how to get there and where to sit, it should be another enjoyable event.

Also, don’t forget to vote for the Carnival Queen!  prizes are up for grabs including restaurant meals, Flower Parade tickets, cookery classes and a stay at the Hotel Beau Rivage. Vote online at http://reine.nicecarnaval.com/en

Happy Carnival!  Here’s to the ‘King of Gastronomy’!