Events In Nice
Nice, despite being France’s 5th largest city, is actually France’s 2nd most visited destination. Annually, over 5 million tourists visit the region. So, as you might have guessed, Nice is a buzzing hive of activity even in the low-season winter months. And why is this you may wonder? Well, it’s because there are just so many amazing events in Nice! Between festivals and conventions, the problem is that there is so many great activities and not enough time to do it all!
The Nice Carnival is one of the city’s largest public events. A surprising fact that not a lot of people know is that Nice’s Carnival is actually the 3rd largest in the world! The first of course being Rio and the second being in Venice.
The event usually takes place during the last two weeks of February and fills the streets with bountiful colours and a cheerful atmosphere. The floats are also a spectacular sight and often have a rather funny satirical meaning behind them. Something which adds a quirky little feature to the event.
Some Quick Tips:
We recommend swinging by the Tourist Office to pick up your free Official Program Guide. This will give you some clue to help decode the humour and ironic meanings of the more esoteric floats.
Don’t bother paying EUR 26 for a reserved seat. You’ll enjoy the Carnival more in the standing A Zone (EUR 12) or standing B Zone (EUR 5). What’s more, if you’re feeling festive, then you get free entry if you arrive wearing a costume!
Lastly, make sure you beat the crowds by buying your tickets online and printing them out. Trust me, you’ll thank me later when you’re not stuck waiting in the ticket booth line for hours!
Fête des Mai
Held every Sunday throughout May, this festival honours many of the old Niçoise traditions. It’s an enjoyable and vibrant event where people come together to share folk tales, Niçoise music, dances and traditional cuisine. A lot of locals even dress-up in old style attire to really bring an authentic feel to the event.
Traditionally, the event entailed cutting down a tree which would then be decorated with flowers. Once the “May Tree” was decorated, everyone would merrily dance around it. Today however, the tree has become a tall pole, and instead of flowers, it is decorated with colourful flowing ribbons.
Historically, the festival was held in the center of each neighbourhood. But now, it is held in the Jardins des Arènes in Cimiez. A beautifully stunning park which contains the remains of an ancient Roman civilisation, a Monastery, and a stunning flower garden.
Festin des Cougourdon
The Gourd Festival is yet another event in Nice which pays homage to the city’s Niçoise ancestry. The festival revolves around a special type of gourd fruit and the religious celebration of Annunciation. What the two themes have to do with each other is unclear, but the people of Nice still love to celebrate the event nonetheless. The festival is usually celebrated on the Sunday closest to March 25th and takes place once again in the Cimiez Gardens. It’s a fun and exciting way to learn about all things Niçoise, and its also a great little way to invest in a unique souvenir!
Nice Jazz Festival
The Nice Jazz Festival is rather famously known for being the first ever jazz festival in the world. Yes, believe it or not, America can’t take credit for the birthplace of jazz festivals. The event is held annually for five nights during the month of July. It attracts not only thousands of music lovers from all over the world, but also some of the biggest names in the music industry. The Gypsy Kinds and the Black Eyed Peas are just two examples. It’s a guaranteed good time with great people and an even greater atmosphere!
Looking for a music festival with a bit more of a contemporary vibe? Then you should check out Nice’s Crossover Festival in August! Taking over Place Masséna, the event includes 6 live performance per evening (plus a DJ Booth), a festival village and a dancefloor in the heart of the Promenade du Paillon. Sun, fun and good music. It’s the perfect summer combination!
Baie des Lumières
Taking place in the Parc Phoenix, the Baie des Lumières celebrates the Chinese New Year. During the evenings, visitors will be blown away by the collection of more than 550 monumental lantern sculptures. Some of the most impressive pieces included a Wall of China and two dragons which stretch 50 meters long! A real journey through Chinese traditions and know-how illustrated by scenes of life and magical landscapes.
There is also fantastic entertainment during the festival. Just to name a few, there will be a display of traditional peacock dancing and even some Kung-Fu demonstrations. Not to mention the delicious blend of both Chinese and Western cuisine that will be offered at the event. It’s a great opportunity to finally try Tanghulu (a Chinese treat of sugar glazed fruits). And the best part about this fantastic event is that a full priced ticket is only EUR 17!