Nice Carnaval 2020!


Carnaval de Nice 2020

I was very excited when I realized I’d be in Nice, France, in February. 

Yes, Carnaval de Nice!! Nice is host to the largest Carnaval in France, and I would be there! The Carnaval has a long history in Nice. This the 136th year! 

Practical information

There are various ways to see the parade. You can reserve a seat, get a standing area ticket, or you can wear a costume (has to be head to toe) and get in free. The website is easy to use, and I was able to buy my ticket and choose a seat online before I left for France. The ticket has to be printed and presented at the entrance. An electronic ticket is not accepted. I paid 26 euros for my front row seat. 

The theme this year is “King Of Fashion,” and the parade is described on the Carnaval de Nice website as……

the carefully staged Corsi Carnavalesques (Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sunday), themed floats will be joined by the giant puppet heads known as grosses têtes and performers from around the world, in a festive and egalitarian atmosphere, to revisit the history of fashion – making you laugh as well as reflect on the clothing industry and its hidden aspects. For while fashion may set trends and influence practices and behavior, it also has an ethical role of responsibility to play.”

Getting through security and entering the site

I arrived at the entrance early when I saw people beginning to line up at my designated entrance at Place Massena. It was very organized, and although there was a lot of security, I was through in no time. I had no idea what to expect but was greeted with the large floats of the king and queen of the Carnaval and people milling around taking pictures.  

Waiting for the parade to begin 

I saw some young women lined up, one dressed elaborately, all were very tall and lovely. I wondered why they were there for but soon found out they would be in the parade and were there to rehearse. I watched them go over and over the rehearsal, likely cold and very bored. Later I would see them at the beginning of the parade dressed in lovely outfits.  

More and more people were arriving many costumed and ready to party.  


There was a lot of fanfare while waiting for the parade. There was a master of ceremonies getting the crowd going, several costumed young people encouraging the crowd to make noise. There was a camera moving around to film the audience for the overhead screen. Christian Estrosi, the mayor of Nice, opened the Carnaval as only a politician can, with lots of words.  The mood was festive and happy. I could feel the excitement from the crowd – finally, the first night of Carnaval! 

The parade began at 9 pm. Lights, streamers, music and huge floats interspersed with costumed people dancing and throwing confetti. It was an amazing beginning designed to kick off the parade with a bang. 

The Nice Carnaval always includes some light-hearted political jabs and this one was no different.  

Emmanuel Macron

I imagine Brexit is the jab

Two of the Kings of Fashion, Karl Lagerfeld and Yves St Laurent flighting for the fashion crown. 

I’m not very up on French designers and fashion so I’m sure I missed many of the hidden messages in the design of the floats. I’ll have to ask some French friends to explain! 

Coming to an end and exiting the site

I certainly got my money’s worth this evening. The parade went on and on and continued to thrill the crowd. Nice did a fabulous job creating the 136th Carnaval parade. 

Exiting the site was easy. There is a pedestrian street full of shops and restaurants right next to the exit, and it was lively. People were finishing up their dinner in restaurants. Families were wandering eating ice cream; teens were laughing and being teens. The crowd exiting the parade, especially those wearing costumes, added to the Saturday night atmosphere,  

Good Job Nice! 

The Carnaval events continue until the end of the month, and I have tickets for the afternoon Flower Parade on February 26th. So…. more to 



I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.


  • Cheryl February 17, 2020 at 6:49 pm Reply

    Looks fantastic! And I do like that hat😄

  • Dottie February 17, 2020 at 7:36 pm Reply

    Fantastic pictures!! That was quite an experience and the flower parade sounds like fun also. Be sure to take lots of photos.

  • Deborah February 20, 2020 at 11:56 pm Reply

    What a great evening that had to be! Thanks for the wonderful photos, too.

  • bonnie fields February 22, 2020 at 3:58 pm Reply

    HI Kathy
    You got some great pictures of the parade. We were there the same evening as you, for our first Carnaval. We sat next to a Brit who’d come with his family for the past 8 years. It was a lot of fun. But, yes, we missed some of the references also. Yet, fun anyway even if left in the the dark about some of the meanings.

  • Patricia February 24, 2020 at 10:43 am Reply

    Fabulous! Thanks for taking us along!

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