See UPDATE below… The alternative Carnival Populaire degeneraged into chaos with police and tear gas!
Tonight marks the start of Carnival, a festival most locals dread and avoid: “Ridiculously expensive!” ”Over-commercialized!” ”Ultra-touristy!” ”Boring!” … Au contraire! Every year I drag some nay-sayer into the melee and they emerge converted: Carnival is surprisingly irreverent, the floats are weirdly impressive, and if you do it right it can be fun, free, quick, easy, and totally worth experiencing at least once! But doing it right is the key… click here for Best of Nice Blog’s Insider Carnival Tips that will turn you into a Carnival Convert.
Tonight is opening night, which means the normally 20-25€ seats are free… but that’s because there are just two floats (the king and queen) and that’s it. Snooze. (…Although I must admit, it is pretty cool at the moment that they suddenly illuminate Place Massena for the first time…)
This year’s theme is Sports, which is decidedly less interesting to mock than the previous, more politically-charged themes, but still we can expect grotesque floats with doping, cheating, hooligans, head-butts, groupies, fame, and mocking weird Olympic sports…
After tonight’s opening ceremony at 8:30pm, here is the schedule for avoiding downtown for the next few weeks until March 4th. Day events start at 2:30pm, and nighttime at 9pm:
- Saturday afternoons: Bataille de Fleurs on the Prom
- Saturday nights: Corso Illuminé
- Sunday afternoons: Corso Carnavalesque
- Tuesday afternoons: Corso Carnavalesque
- Wednesday afternoons: Bataille de Fleurs on the Prom
- Wednesday nights: Corso Illuminé
And don’t forget the crazy free-for-all Carnival Populaire! This is the flipside to the ‘Official Carnival’, with homemade floats, flour bombs, and lots of drums, beer and tie-dye. The most fun this year should be:
- Sunday Feb. 26 at 3pm at Place Garibaldi
UPDATE Feb. 27: Okay, better skip the Carnival Populaire… yesterday’s started with massive egging and flour-bombing, advanced to vandalism of a security camera, and finished with police, tear gas and arrests!
Click here for the Official Nice Carnival site in English
Nice-Matin: Tout savoir sur le carnaval