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Inspiring Life & Travel in France

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Inspiring Life & Travel in France

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Carnaval in Nice: A Birthday Bash With History, Costumes, and Pizzazz!

There’s nothing like going to Nice for your birthday and finding out there’s a party going on!

Welcome to the World of Carnaval in Nice

Nice is where centuries-old architecture and traditions blend seamlessly with modern-day attractions to create an unforgettable French Riviera city. It has been one of my favorite places to visit since living in the south of France.

Nice France

On my last trip back from the States, I wanted to stop in Nice to spend a few days for my birthday.

Little did I know it was Carnaval! Unexpectedly, my birthday celebration became intertwined with the colorful, crazy, and fun event.

Despite the sold-out tickets to the Carnaval main events, I could not resist the impulse to walk around and sneak into the venues to catch a glimpse of the action. Armed with a retractable camera stick, I had a unique vantage point … peering over barriers. I could see where other pedestrians were forbidden. Perhaps I’d inadvertently discovered the very best view!


The History of Carnaval in Nice

The Carnaval celebration in Nice goes back to the Middle Ages. It was intended as a period of indulgence and revelry before the solemn days of  Lent began. Over the centuries, Carnaval has evolved into a celebration of Nice: the city’s culture and spirit. Carnaval in Nice is one of the world’s most iconic and beloved events.

Carnaval 2023 Evolution of Carnaval Costumes:  Wearing masks and costumes is one of the highlights of Carnaval in Nice. Outfits range from masks to extravagant costumes, each a testament to the wearer’s creativity. Over the years, Carnaval wear has been inspired by history, mythology, and contemporary culture.

Spectacular Floats and Parade: If you land in Nice and are clueless about Carnaval like I was, a glimpse around tells you it’s Carnaval. Massive floats with elaborate designs and vibrant colors take over most public spaces. Each float tells a story ranging from whimsy to history. When it’s time for the parade, the floats come to life!

Street Performances and Celebrity Sightings:  Since the earliest events, Carnaval has been a time for entertainment, and street performers would entertain crowds with various acts, such as juggling, acrobatics, and comedic performances. These performances added to the festive atmosphere and provided amusement for spectators. Over the years, Carnaval in Nice has attracted its fair share of stars and dignitaries worldwide. From Hollywood stars to political figures, the event has been attended by celebrities ranging from Elton John and Sharon Stone to Jean-Paul Gaultier and Monaco Royals.


The Flower Parade: Arguably, the main event of Carnaval in Nice is the flower parade. Also known as the “Battle of Flowers,” this tradition features a parade of decorated floats adorned with fresh flowers that create a dazzling symphony of color and scents. As the floats glide down the Promenade des Anglais and wind through the streets, spectators are showered with “petals from above.” The flower parade is a celebration of nature’s beauty and the floral heritage of the region. Throwing flowers symbolizes spring’s arrival and life’s renewal after winter.

It’s a Great Party You Don’t Want to Miss

When there’s no parade, most visitors to Carnaval hang around the big square in the old town, Place Massena. I joined the crowds to soak in the atmosphere and to see the beautiful floats up close. Eyeing the Ferris wheel, without hesitation, I hopped on. From high above the city, the panoramic views of the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, to the rooftops of Old Nice, I saw Nice from a truly unforgettable perspective.

Celebrating In Style

It’s not easy to get excited about birthdays at this age, except you keep having them! Nevertheless, the celebration in Nice will join the list of “unforgettables.”

Au revoir, Nice. Thanks also to my friend Cheryl from Atlanta, who joined me, and to Hotel Anantara for the memories.

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Yes, there was chocolate! 


Day trip from Uzes to the Cevennes

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