Things to Do in May in and around Nice

May is a month of glamour on the French Riviera, with the world’s most prestigious film festival, the Cannes Film Festival and then the the world’s most glamorous racing event, the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix!

fermeThe month starts with May Day on May 1st, which is Labor Day in France, meaning that almost everyone takes the day off!  It’s the one day a year when there are no buses or trams, and all the museums are closed.

In fact, May is chock full of French public holidays, where banks and post offices are closed, buses and trains are on a reduced holiday schedule, and taxis charge double (…but not Ubers!)  Here is the holiday schedule for 2018:

  • May 1               May Day/Labor Day (No buses, no museums)
  • May 8               V-E Day (WWII Victory in Europe)
  • May 10              Ascension
  • May 20/21       Pentecost/Whit Monday

May is also a prime month for transport strikes; between the high-profile events, the weekend holiday travel, and plus Mother’s Day at the end, it’s like catnip to French transport workers.  Just an FYI…

Jean Dujardin at Cannes by Totally GoneCannes Film Festival  May 9-20, 2018 – Some Free

Inside tips on how to experience the Cannes Film Festival for the unaccredited, including how to see films without a badge and star-gazing strategies.


Pastor_Maldonado_2009_GP2_Monaco_Grand_PrixMonaco Grand Prix May 24-27, 2017 – Free day May 25

Here’s a secret: The most glamorous and prestigious racing event in the world, the Monaco Grand Prix… has a free day!



Fete-des-Mai-NiceNice Folklore Festivals Every Sunday in May – Free

The 1st of May and then every Sunday in May, the free Nice Folklore Festival, Fete des Mais, takes over the Jardins de Cimiez.  This centuries-old festival  features traditional dancing, costumes, roving musicians, animations and folklore, plus local food and lots and lots of picnicking!


Museums by Moonlight: the Night of the Museums Saturday, May 19, 2018 –  Free  Europe-wide, this nighttime museum-fest features special guided tours, music and surprises.  All museums in Nice are open until 11pm, and all are free, so bounce from one museum to another for a night of culture, surprises, and fun!  Target your museum choices here and then pop into the Tourist Office for the schedule of events.



Crossover Festival – Electronic and Alternative Music Festival in Nice


See Related Pages:

  • What to do on Sundays in Nice – free afternoon concerts, free museum days, Catholic masses, special family Opera matinees, plus a Sunday night open-air drag show in the Old Town…
  • Nice by Nite – concerts, jazz clubs, salsa and tango venues, pub quiz nights, English-language theater and movie venues…

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