The Nice Carnival on the French Riviera: Elegant Extravaganza

The Nice Carnival (Le Carnaval de Nice) is the biggest winter event on the French Riviera. It stands as a testament to the region’s cultural richness, artistic flair, and joie de vivre. During a festive fortnight, the seaside city of Nice transforms into a lively hub of colours, music, and revelry during this annual celebration, attracting thousands of visitors from around the world.

Nice Carnival dates

This year the Nice Carnival will take place from 17 February to 3 March 2024. Elaborate floats (known as Corsi), adorned with vibrant colours, intricate designs, and animated characters, parade through the city’s streets, creating a fantastical atmosphere. The themes often draw inspiration from mythology, history, or contemporary issues, showcasing the organizers’ creativity and commitment to delivering a unique experience.

Central to the famous carnival are the costumed participants who bring the streets to life with their creativity and energy. Locals and tourists alike don elaborate costumes, masks, and make-up, contributing to the carnival’s lively and visually stunning ambiance. Parades wind their way through Nice, featuring musicians, dancers, and performers, all contributing to the festive spirit.


The origins of the Nice Carnival can be traced back to the medieval period, with the first recorded celebrations dating as far back as the 13th century. Initially, the carnival served as a period of feasting and merrymaking before the solemn season of Lent. Over the centuries, the event evolved, incorporating various cultural influences and themes, turning it into the grand spectacle we witness today.

Battle of the Flowers (Bataille de Fleurs), music & more

One of the standout events during the festival is the “Battle of Flowers” or “Bataille de Fleurs.” Dating back to 1876, this unique parade involves elaborately decorated floats covered in fresh flowers, creating a stunning display of colours and fragrances. Participants on the floats toss flowers into the crowd, turning the streets into a floral battleground. It’s a celebration of nature’s beauty and a symbol of the region’s horticultural prowess.

Music is an integral part of the Nice Carnival, with lively tunes and rhythms filling the air during the parades and events. Traditional folk music, as well as contemporary beats, adds to the party atmosphere. The carnival also hosts concerts, street performances, and a variety of entertainment options for visitors to enjoy, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

King Carnival burning ceremony

The grand finale of the Nice Carnival involves the symbolic burning of King Carnival, a giant effigy representing the spirit of the carnival season. This ritual marks the end of the festivities and symbolizes the transition from the revelry of carnival to the solemnity of Lent. The burning ceremony is accompanied by fireworks, creating a spectacular display against the night sky.

Ecological commitment

For visitors concerned about the ecological footprint of such an event, the Nice Carnival has adopted practices that show its commitment to sustainability and environmental protection. Everything that is recoverable is reused and for the first time this year, biodegradable confetti and streamer cannons will be used for an even more ecological event

Nice Carnival tickets

For all ticketing info, please visit

INSIDER TIP If you come in costume from head to toe, entrance is free in pedestrian areas for the Corsi parades. Warning: a few accessories will not be enough!

Isabelle Bryan
Isabelle Bryan
Isabelle is a co-founder and editor of Riviera Traveller. She has lived in France, the UK and Australia and is equally at ease writing in English and French. She has been coming to the South of France since she was a child and now lives here with her young daughter. She has been published in ELLE, Premiere Movie Magazine, the Melbourne Age, the Australian Financial Review magazine and the Herald Sun. Isabelle loves swimming in the turquoise waters off the Iles de Lerins or strolling around the outdoor sculptures at Fondation Maeght in St Paul de Vence.

Related Stories



Julia Roberts, Kylie, Gigi flock to South of France...

Hollywood royalty descended on the French Riviera this past week for the launch of...

Top Romantic Locations to Pop the Question on the...

Do you often wonder where to find the lost romantic locations to pop the...

Skiing in Paradise: Exploring the Wonderful Ski Resorts on...

  When one thinks of the French Riviera, the images of glamorous beaches, azure waters,...

Iconic Cannes: 10 Must Visit Places

Cannes is not just a destination for the movie literati during its famous film...

Spotlight on our Charity of the Month: ...

Eighteen years ago, Innocent Smoothies came up with the idea of asking people to...

Monaco, Playground of the Rich and Famous

Nestled on the glamorous French Riviera, Monaco stands as a jewel of sophistication and...

Popular Categories



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here