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Digital Subscriptions > Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) > March 2015 > Join the carnival in Nice

Join the carnival in Nice

Get festive in Nice

When it comes to carnival season, Rio’s spectacle (and sun) takes the crown, but if your sights are set a little closer to home, a trip to Nice is a great alternative. Going strong since the 13th century, the city’s shindig is one of the world’s largest, with a million visitors descending on its riviera over two weeks of revelries. The heart of the festival is its series of spectacular parades. Here, floats topped with rather intimidating giant figures wind their way from the seafront to Place Masséna, accompanied by more than 1,000 musicians, acrobats and performers from all over the world. Nice’s seaside promenade is also the site of the unique ‘flower battles’, processions of floats garlanded with blooms, whose riders fling colourful bouquets into the crowds. In the evening, even more floats, illuminated this time, make their way through the streets. The whole shebang reaches a fitting crescendo on the final night, with fireworks and the ceremonial burning of the papier mâché carnival king at sea. In between festivities, explore the laid-back charms of Nice, whether ambling the old town’s narrow lanes, perusing food and flowers at the Cours Saleya market or watching the sun set over the Mediterranean Sea.

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