January 23, 2012
February 17 – March 4 2012
Having been dubbed as being the ‘main winter event on the French Riviera’, the Carnival de Nice really is an event not to be missed. Being one of the largest carnivals in the world, there is an abundance of unforgettable entertainment on display during this 15 day long festival.
The many parades that feature throughout the carnival are a hypnotic mix of colour, costumes and creativity. The largest of the parades is made up of 20 floats, marches through the streets of Nice by day and by night, features over 1,000 musicians and dancers from around the world, and has a different theme running throughout it each year.
This year the theme is to be the ‘King of Sport’, which is a reference to, not only the great sporting exploits and achievements of Nice and France as a whole, but also to this year’s London Olympics.
Each year the Nice Carnival has a guest of honour, and this year it will be Great Britain, a decision, given this emphasis on sport at the Nice Carnival 2012, based fundamentally on the 2012 Olympic Games being hosted by the UK.
The Nice Carnival roots date back to the Middle Ages, when the people of Nice, according to the Catholic tradition of Lent, enjoyed a rich, plentiful and flamboyant feast before fasting for forty days.
This ostentatious feast gradually escalated in merriment and grandeur, with the earliest mention of a carnival in Nice being in 1294, when the Count of Provence, Charles d’Anjou spent the “joyous days of Carnival” in Nice.