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Carnival and winter festivals in the French Riviera

Côte d'Azur & Provence

It's Carnival time! And with it come some of the best and most beautiful celebrations of winter bounty, from the citrus fruits in Menton to the cheery Mimosa flowers painting the hills bright yellow to the tasty violets up in Tourrettes-sur-Loup. Here is our round-up of February Festivals.

Fête de la Sainte Blaise, Valbonne

Valbonne demain, or Valbonne of tomorrow, is the theme of this year's lively Saint-Blaise winter festival in the friendly village above Sophia-Antipolis. On the 25th and 26th of January, local producers will present their products in the square and in the streets - cheese, vegetables, honey, jam, flowers... On Saturday 25th of January, at the Bermond farm in Garbejaïre, cooking demonstrations by famous chefs from the Côte d'Azur will take place. The evening will end with a concert by the "Suo Tempore" choir at the Saint-Blaise village church.

Sunday traditionally begins with a mass (sung by the Académie Provençale de Cannes), followed by the blessing of local products and a wine tasting. Around 2 p.m., the classical carnival procession follows with flower-decorated floats on the theme mentioned at the beginning, lots of music and street artists.

25th and 26th of January

Valbonne Village

www.valbonne.fr 

 

Tourrettes-sur-LoupViolet Festival

This mountain-top village has been celebrating its symbol flower since 1952. The weekend programme includes a market of local specialities, culinary treats made with violets, live music and more. Full programme online.

29 February – 1st Mar, throughout the village.

www.tourrettessurloup.com

 

Carnival de Nice

The biggest carnival in France and one of the most famous in the world never ceases to amaze its spectators. Last year’s “King of Cinema” even proved politically provocative! This year’s theme is ‘Roi du Monde’, or ‘King of the Fashion World’ showcases the greatest styles fashion has seen.

Day and night parades, flower battles and all-around wackiness! Don’t miss the magic, colours, sounds and scents - it’s one of the most fun events in Nice!

15 February - 3 March

Promenade des Anglais & Place Masséna

www.nicecarnaval.com

 

 Fête du Citron - Menton Lemon Festival

The 87th Fête du Citron will be celebrating the world’s festivals. This theme is sure to make a wild and colourful edition! Mardi Gras, anyone? With more than 200,000 visitors each year this beautiful and tasty festival is unique. For 15 days, visitors can admire the gigantic citrus structures, on display in the centre of the city. But don’t miss the out-of-this-world nocturnal parades, the Artisan salon or the Orchid Festival with its unforgettable scents.

15 February to 3 March

Along the Promenade du Soleil and in the Jardin Biovès.

www.fete-du-citron.com

 

Mandelieu-la-Napoule Mimosa Festival

Created in 1931, the Mimosa Festival has become an essential event during which we celebrate the bright yellow flower that has been the symbol for the city and more broadly for the French Riviera. This year’s theme celebrates ‘La Belle Epoque’. Each year, they crown the ‘Queen of Mimosa,’ taking place on Saturday 22 February at 2 pm at the Expo Congress Centre (free admission). The Corso Fleuri will be on Sunday with elaborate floats accompanied by musicians, street artists, troops and machinery all decked out in Belle Epoque style. Places can be reserved online.

19 - 26 February

Mandelieu-la-Napoule, Promenade du bord de mer

www.ot-mandelieu.fr

 

Bormes-Les-Mimosas Flower Parade

The “Corso Fleuri” celebrates its 100th anniversary this year! There is sure to be a grand celebration over and above the usual grand parade of floats covered in more than 80,000 bright and beautiful flowers (mimosa, white heather, windflowers, carnations etc.). The floats make their way around the streets of the village.

23 February in the village. Admission 6€, children up to 10 free. Parade at 2.30 pm.

www.corso-fleuri-bormes.com