One of our highlights of being in Nice was seeing their Carnaval celebrations. Carnaval is traditionally a time of celebration just before Lent, but we were there quite a bit after Lent started, so I’m not too sure on how the timing was worked out. We had been just a little early for Carnaval celebrations in Cologne, so we were excited to see some of what happens. On our first day there, we saw some of the satirical paintings advertising Carnaval, and later that day we happened upon one of the Carnaval parades. Amidst children spraying Silly String and throwing confetti, multiple floats go past, each poking fun at something (usually another country). In some cases, we had no idea what point they were making, but in others it was very clear – some of them were not remotely politically correct!
Over two weeks the same Carnaval parade floats came out on different days, alternating with the flower festival parade. We watched the flower festival parade from on the beach as we didn’t feel inclined to pay to go in, but the floats were all made of different flowers which were ultimately thrown to the crowd.
Easily the most fun experience of Carnaval for us was attending the Light Parade on Saturday night. If you were dressed up you could get in for free, so we donned beautiful wigs and leis and made our way down to join in the fun. All of the same floats were going that we had seen the first day, but they looked much cooler at night and it was a much more fun atmosphere. We were surprised that the crowd weren’t really dancing to the music, but there was plenty of silly string and confetti going – lots of fun to watch for a couple of hours!