Flowers and Carnival Fun on The French Riviera

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There’s nothing like Carnaval on the French Riviera. The main winter event in the south of France is one of the largest carnivals in the world, running from February 15 through March 6, 2013.

You should time their visits to include either a Saturday or a Wednesday (or both), because that’s when the Flower Parades are held, stepping off at 2:30 p.m. each of the six days.

Held along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, the elegant “flower battles” are a part of the carnival not to be missed. On 20 floats decorated with “over the top” floral compositions, extravagantly dressed characters throw mimosas, gerberas, and lilies to the spectators (much like the beads and candies thrown in other parades).

It was on the seafront, along Promenade des Anglais, that the first Flower Procession (Bataille de Fleurs) was held in 1876 by Andriot Saëtone. Soon, the timid exchanges of bouquets of flowers between the rich winter visitors’ decorated carriages developed into a prestigious show, now an integral part of Carnival.

The theme for 2013 is “King of the five continents”: a journey through time and space opening all perspectives to imagination.

(Photo courtesy of Carnaval de Nice)