The Nice Carnival is the oldest and one of the biggest carnivals in the World. It is also one of the most important dates in the annual festivals calendar in France. The 2021 Nice carnival will take place from 6-20 February 2021.
This enormous French carnival procession takes place over 15 days during the Mardi Gras and features 16 decorated floats that make their way along the Promenade des Anglais up to the central square of Nice, Place Masséna. It is here that the carnival ends with the ceremonial burial of the Carnival King.
This colourful festival takes place during the day and night, and features over 1,000 musicians and dancers from around the world. The Nice carnival is the European rival of the famous Rio carnival in Brazil.
History of the Carnaval de Nice
The Nice Carnival is reputed to be on of the World's oldest continuously run festivals. The first mention of the "Nice Carnaval" in history books dates back to the time of Chares Anjou the Count of Provence in 1294. The roots of this Mardi Gras festival lay in the traditional Catholic celebration of Lent, just before the period of 40 days fasting.
It was generally a time of excess on the streets of Nice, with plenty of eating, drinking, dancing and God knows what. During the time when Nice was under the control of Italy, the carnival became influenced by the masked balls often celebrated at the Carnival of Venice.
The Nice Carnival died off a bit during the French revolution and the time of Napoleon (not much of a party-goer himself), but it was soon revived again once the rulers of Piedmont-Sardinia took control of Nice and the surrounding coastline.
Carnival de Nice 2021
Today the Nice Carnival attracts over a million visitors to Nice every February. Every year Nice carnaval has a special theme and the participants compete to create the best floats that match the theme. Alongside the carnival floats, there are some huge figures made from papier mache. The floats and accompanying figures and bands march day and night along the Promenade des Anglais up to the Place Masséna.
The Nice carnival is one of the best times of the year to visit Nice, France. The whole city comes alive during the carnival celebrations, making it one of the liveliest and biggest festivals in Europe. Aside from the carnival itself (which is difficult to avoid), it also gives you a great opportunity to explore this wonderful French city. With a range of cheap flights to Nice from London, New York and Northern Europe, you really should enter the 2021 Nice Carnival dates onto your bucket list now.
Battle of the Flowers Nice carnival
Taking place on the Promenade des Anglais, one of the most colourful aspects of the Nice Carnival is the Battle of Flowers. Here you will find many floats decorated in flowers, mostly carnations. Nice was historically an important carnation growing region in France.
The history of the Battle of the Flowers dates back to 1876, when the elegant ladies of the city started to pelt each other with flower petals. Today the battle of the flowers features the many flower decorated floats launching seemingly endless supplies of flowers onto each other and the audience.
You can gain access to the Battle of the Flowers by buying a special ticket from the Festival kiosk (€10 for a standing place).
The best places to witness the Battle of Flowers is along the Promenade des Anglais in the standing zone. This is certainly where all the party people congregate. Fuelled by copious quantities of pastis and wine, there is a lot of jostling and jumping in the air to catch the largest quantities of flowers. Then the next trick is to find the best looking girls to present the flower bouquets too.
Apartments in Nice France during the Carnival
If you are interested in attending the Nice carnival next year, then you would be well advised to book your accommodation well in advance. With over 1 million people descending on Nice during the 15 days of the festival, hotel accommodation is at a premium. One cost-effective alternative to staying in a hotel is to hire an apartment in Nice during your stay.
On Go South France, you will find a wide selection of Nice apartments to rent during the Nice carnvial. These range from high-end luxury apartments to low cost budget options in the Old Town of Nice (Vieux Ville). Search now for your Carnival 2021 apartments in Nice France to rent.
Weather in Nice in February
The weather in Nice in February is usually OK, with average daily temperatures of around 14oC. The temperature does drop at night time to around 7oC, so you will certainly need to wear more than the dancers usually do! (but who are we to stop them!!).
During February, Nice is usually blessed with sunshine during the day (an average of 10 hours per day) and there is a slight chance of rain (30% chance on average), but this is normally brief showers or drizzle rather than heavy downpours.
So if you are looking for somewhere to go to in February to escape the dull weather, then come an enjoy the sun on the French Riviera!
Travel to Nice France
You can reach the Nice carnival very easily, with direct cheap flights to Nice airport from London Gatwick & Heathrow (British Airways), Canada (Air Canada), Dublin (Aer Lingus & Ryanair), Moscow (Aeroflot), New York (Delta), Brussels (Brussels Airlines), Dubai (Emirates), Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf & Stuttgart (Germanwings), Madrid (Iberia), Amsterdam (KLM) and Istanbul (Turkish airlines).
Easyjet also run regular flights to Nice airport from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin–Schönefeld, Brussels, Geneva, Lisbon, Liverpool, London-Gatwick, London-Luton, London-Stansted, Marrakech, Naples, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Rome-Fiumicino and Venice.
Nice France airport is located just 7kms from the centre of Nice and it is well connected by train and bus routes. Buses go direct from the airport to the Promenade des Anglais and the Gare de Nice railway station. The nearest train station to Nice airport is Nice-Saint-Augustin (15 minutes walk).
Nice alos has a well-developed Tram line that services the Airport and the center of Nice at Place Masséna.
Carnival Nice 2021
Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France
6-20 February 2021