Ray and I are huge fans of Carnaval in Nice and have been for years. The spectacular parades, vibrant energy and pulse of the city, and its sense of fun have captured our hearts. When the theme for 2020 was announced, Roi De La Mode or King of Fashion, I knew I would be attending. The fact that the dates ran alongside Paris Fashion week was not lost on me. Of course, Ray was in; Carnaval is in Nice!
Now, this is where it turns into my version of a fairytale. As luck (GodWink) would have it, I received a press pass that allowed access to the events in Nice and other unique venues in the area, all up close and personal. I was totally over the moon!
This post is an overview of our time spent in the marvelous French Riviera…in particular Carnaval.
Sunshine and Warmth: An Early Spring?
The weather was idyllic, sunny, warm, perfect for outdoor activities; this is not always the case. We’ve been to Carnaval in frigid, wet weather, and trust me; it’s not comfortable. After we returned home, the weather remembered it is February, and temperatures dropped, and the wind kicked in. Wednesday’s parade was canceled due to weather conditions, and eventually, Carnaval closed early due to fear of Covid-19.
The Carnaval Queen 2020
King of Fashion—The theme ran through the three parades
If you weren’t familiar with the crème de la crème of designers and what they are best known for, some of the subtleties in the parades might have gone over your head. Ray can be thankful he has me for a wife (she said sarcastically) as he recognized most of the key players. The first parade to test his knowledge was the Flower Parade or Bataille de Fleurs. He passed.
Bataille de Fleurs: The World Famous Battle of Flowers
The flower parade, which began in 1876, is a favorite of attendees. The imaginative floats with music and sound effects are adorned with the most glorious array of flowers. This year, the costumed models accompanying the floats threw armfuls of mimosa to the cheering crowd. As folks stretched trying to catch the flying bouquets, it was a tangle of arms and hands. Dancers, musicians, stilt walkers, and bands were cheered as they marched along. The giant interactive balloons were a crowd-pleaser. A large snake adorned in a YSL Color Block wrap came right over my head…actually landed on my head. But, he was in YSL, so it was okay. Hehe
Carnival Parade: Corso
I was like a kid in a candy store running around the floats before the parade began. The floats are enormous, and the attention to detail is staggering. The artists, designers, sculptors, painters, and carnavaliers (builders) are incredibly talented and passionate about their work—and it shows.
Many of the floats are ‘tongue in cheek’ which I adore. Of course, giant heads walk alongside the floats. Confetti (20 tons used for the flower parade and Corso) and crepe paper banners cover everyone, and music fills the air…it’s magical.
Illuminated Carnaval Parade
The illuminated parade is the nighttime parade. The floats are the same, but the experience is somehow different when you are sitting under the stars. The parades sell out quickly every year. I was told the first to sell out are always the nighttime illuminated parades. Everything is better at night.
Events for the Children
The wee ones were not left out. Costumed parades with face painting and poster drawings were held in parks around the city. From what we could tell, the children were having as much fun as the adults.
An early closure for Carnaval 2020: Covid-19
Due to precautionary measures, the city of Nice decided to close Carnaval 2020 a few days before its scheduled close. I’m sure it was a difficult decision as this is a highlight of the year.
Last night I received notification that the floral arrangements for Wednesday, February 26th, and Saturday, February 29th, will be placed at the memorial located at the Villa Messena for the folks killed in the July 14th, terrorist attack in Nice. They’ll also be placed in the cemeteries and on Castle Hill. Hospitals, both public and private, will receive floral arrangements.
If you should happen to be in town Saturday, February 29th, you might come home with a bouquet of mimosa. The city plans to hand out all of the mimosae that would have been distributed during the last two flower parades.
We can’t wait to see what the creative minds come up with for next year’s Carnaval. Whatever it is, I know it will be outstanding.
If You are interested in reading more about Carnaval, check out this post
OR this article
Many thanks to #nicetourisme and #nicecarnaval for a wonderful visit.
Carnaval De Nice: Roi De La Mode—The King of Fashion, was first published on Chasing The Next Chapter