Finding a perfect place to spend your holiday can be pretty complicated especially when you want to travel abroad. UK travelers who need some time off in a serene environment with good weather should consider spending time in France. There are numerous festivals, social events, and trendy places in France which can appeal to many people, one of such is the popular Nice Carnival.

This is one of the iconic festivals done at the heart of Nice which attracts thousands of people around the world. If you want to know more about the Nice Carnival, and what it offers, read on.

An Overview of the Nice Carnival

Nice Carnival remains one of the best and most historical carnivals in the world. This Middle Age carnival lasts for 12 days and it is celebrated by millions of people on the French Riviera. Moreover, this carnival leads up to Mardi Gras, which is the day before Ash Wednesday. The carnival will be organized on the French Riviera close to Alpes-Maritimes.

This carnaval de Nice is along the shores and a few kilometers from the Italian Border. Nice offers tourists moderate weather, nice Mediterranean beach waves, and nice architecture. This illuminated carnival boasts pretty floats, musicians, artists, and dancers from across the world.

The History of Nice Carnival

Nice Carnival remains one of the oldest carnivals in the world and a very important event in France. It dates back to old times when unbelievers celebrate the winter solstice. During these celebrations, there will be wild social events to arrive in spring.

For some time, these celebrations were private events with nice parties and masquerade balls in many luxurious residencies.

The Main Events of Nice Carnival

When you travel to Nice for the French Riviera events such as this carnival, here are the activities to expect:

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony of the Nice Carnival starts at Place Masséna, close to the center of Nice. At this ceremony, you will find floaters, local groups, musical troupes, and costume performers.

The Belgian Carnaval (Les Gilles de La Louvière)

This Is an important part of the French Riviera events which will have you nuzzling with many amazing costumes, attires, and music. You will witness a nice time with the Guindaille and the Carnival parade fireworks.

Illuminated Carnival Parade

This is known to the locals as the Corso Carnavalesque which is a good parade. These parades are done in an incredible atmosphere where many art troupes and performers from around the world will show their talents. There are about 20 carnival floats which are fine by local craftsmen on parade that day.

La Parada Nissarada

During the Nice Carnival, this parade shows more about the local heritage. Boats shown during this parade are made by local carnival associations of each district. You will see different interactions between spectators and participants.

Battle of the Flowers

Every year the Nice parade showcases flower battles on the water and many costumed perfumers. This particular event shows various incredible flower diversity around the count of Provence. There are more than 300,000 flowers and 25 tons of mimosa thrown to the crowd.

Farewell to the King

During this event, which is usually on the last day of the carnival, you will see the Carnival King being cremated. At the Carnival the King burial is usually solemn with many rites performed. This event will end with a huge street party for the enjoyment of everyone.

My Experience at the Nice Carnival

During my Vacation last year, I took a trip to Nice, to witness the Nice Carnival and have a good time. I saw various well-crafted floats, good music, and nice entertainment. Besides the festival, I ate at the Côte d’Azur food stands and their meals were great.

Also, I found the promenade des Anglais easily and it was worth it. Since I went alone, I was able to walk easily through the well-tared street without problems. I stayed at the Hotel Beau Rivage because it is close to the Carnival. I visited the Musee Matisse and Rue Masséna which showed me a different view of the world. February in Nice is cold like it is in the UK, so you need to come with the right clothing. I stayed for 15 days before coming and it’s worth my time and money.

Accommodation options to use

If you are coming for the Nice Carnival from the UK, you need to plan where to stay. Here are some that I suggest:


There are many hotels close to the Nice carnival you can use. These hotels offer nice packages which are affordable to everyone. Some good suggestions are Palais Saleya, Hotel Albert 1er, Best Western Plus Hotel Masséna Nice, and Ajoupa Apart’hotel Nice.

Bread and Breakfast

There are also some great B&B you could use when you are in Nice. They are nice for singles and couples who want cheap accommodation to stay during the Nice Festival. You should try to book them in advance to have better discounts.

Important tips when visiting Nice Carnival

When going to the Nice Carnival, here are some important things to have in mind:

Wear a full costume to enter freely

If you want to get into the carnival for free, you need to wear a full costume. Don’t just wear a mask or hat, adorn a full carnival costume. This is an important rule which allows you to enter the B zone.

Get seats early

It’s very important to reserve your seats early if you want to get a good spot. There are thousands of people visiting from across the world, so booking a seat easily saves you.

Catching flowers

Catching flowers is very important during the parade, you will need to be seated in the front if you want to do so. However, be wary when catching these flowers, because your space might be invaded.

Arrive Early

One of the most important tips when coming to the Nice Festival is to get there an hour early. This enables you to see floats during the carnival. Another great spot to stay is the promenade du Pavillon where you can take some pictures.

After Parade, Stay back

Don’t rush home after the parade, because these parades usually make their way around the second time. This gives you the chance to have another opportunity of catching what you missed.

Free View

If you don’t want to pay and you don’t have a full costume, you could stand along the Avenue du Verdun close to McDonald’s to watch the parade for free. You could also stand on the second floor of Mcdonald’s at Hotel Le Meridien to have a good view.

How to get to the Nice Festival

If you are coming to Nice Festival, here are some transportation options you can use:


This is the best way for those coming from the UK. You will need to take a plane seat to Nice-côte d’Azur Airport. From this airport, you can take a bus or taxi which is about 15–20 minutes to the city center.


Using high-speed trains is also another viable option to get to the Festival. There are many trains which move from the UK through Italy to Marseille for good rates. You will stop at the Gate de Nice Ville which is close to where the festivals will take place.


Multiple car rental companies can take you to Nice from the UK. The different rates depend on the car company you use. You could also drive up if you are up for it.

The Nice Carnival remains a must-see for UK tourists who want to visit France. It has many attractions and appeals to everyone. I recommend you move around during the Festival on foot as you can have a good view of the city that way.

About the Author

I am Mehdi Ramzi, the founder of the blog "Hello French Riviera", dedicated to the French Riviera. I am passionate about this region and I share my knowledge about the activities, places and events not to be missed. I am also an avid surfer and chess player. I am a big fan of Arsenal and I am passionate about technology. I combine my passion for the French Riviera and technology by running this blog.

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