Carnivals and Festivals in Provence

Lynne Alderson

In February the Côte d’Azur bursts into colour with a glittering array of festivals celebrating the end of the dark days and the coming of the spring. Flowers and fruit are the themes of parades and displays all along the coast; Please refer to the individual websites to check dates and ticket prices.

Grand Corso du Mimosa, Bormes-les-Mimosas

One of the most beautiful villages in the Var, Bormes is famous for its gardens and of course its mimosa. The residents of Bormes-les-Mimosa prepare floats for their parade in strict secrecy – all is revealed when the floats are paraded around the streets, accompanied by bands and local dancers.

Sea Battle of the Flowers, Villefranche

This is a traditional celebration held in the Port de la Santé. Traditional fishing boats are decorated with carnations and mimosa, and manned by sailors in traditional dress, who end the day by pelting the onlookers with flowers. Sounds great fun.

Nice Carnival

There is a different theme every year with activities.

The Lemon Festival, Menton

Menton celebrates the Fête du Citron every year. Festivals began here in 1895 when hôtelliers thought it would boost trade and also provide a diversion for the wealthy who spent their winters in the town. Local farmers began growing lemons in the area in 1929, and the fruit became the carnival theme from the thirties onwards. There are displays in the gardens and the main parades along the sea-front on the Promenade du Soleil.

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