A day in the life of Nice Carnival 2018
When craziness is combined with general merriment, the result of this synergy turns into one of the most high-profile events in the region, the 134th Carnival of Nice. The end of February is an ideal time to start with preparations for the upcoming season, so that guests can feel the really warm and welcoming atmosphere of the mini-Rio in Nice from February 17 to March 4. Traditionally, parades begin on the Place Massena, bypass the Jardin Albert I, and take over a small part of the Promenade des Anglais.
Carnival this year is zooming to ever greater planetary heights, as not without a reason the chosen theme of the performances is “King of Space”. Elon Musk’s shuttle launched in early 2018, current interplanetary missions and the desire to reach the remote parts of our galaxy due to space tourism, may have served as a kind of inspiration for the organizers of the fiesta.
The folk festivities unite two events: day and night Carnival parades (Corsos carnavalesque), and the Parade of Flowers, which is traditionally held in the daytime. HelloMonaco was right at the center of the most elegant and fragrant Flower Parade on the Cote d’Azur. You fall in love at first sight after observing the incredible scenery of the parade with thousands of different blooms. Probably, you will be surprised to discover that the first Flower Parade on the Promenade des Anglais was held in early 1876.
The entertainment begins in the central square of the city at the fountain. After the countdown, the dancers in silvery robes with huge firecrackers in their hands give the start to the carnival! A distinctive feature of 2018 are the performances of 60 street dancers, acrobats and circus performers of THE B.A.T. (A team of friendly provocateurs heckling from the tribune), who throughout the show were cheerfully causing a stir amongst the public.
The audience was frozen in anticipation of yet further surprises. And the Carnival delivered in spades as the parade opened with a spectacular horse show, where powerful horses demonstrated standing on their hind legs. And then, the first of the 16 “flower carts” headed towards the public. Each wagon was spearheaded by cosmic princesses, whose most important role was to offer bouquets of Lilies, Mimosas, Orchids, and Roses to the public. Another key interesting point is that 75% of all the plants used as decorations were regionally grown. Who would have imagined that each cart would be decorated with plants by hand, this process taking approximately 72 hours for the florists involved. We had some doubts whether each guest of the Carnival would end up with their own desired bouquet, but some lucky ones did manage to return back home with beautiful decorative blossoms.
It’s hard not to mention some of the other more exciting moments of the parade, particularly the performances when immense balloons in the form of extraterrestrial beings and a dinosaur occasionally would “attack” the spectators. The excitement of the youngest ones was impossible to hide.
Brazilian dancers in colourful dresses were attracting lots of attention as they executed to perfection the overtly feminine movements of the samba. In addition to Latin American dances, we had the opportunity to see an Asian dance. The traditional attire and shawl, flying with the music, so uniquely Asian, seemed a really original addition to the carnival program.
Each group of artists participating in the parade were united by a unique theme. So we noted first a troupe in Venetian costumes, then astronauts followed by golden mythical creatures on stilts and finally a group of provocative rebels who absolutely refused to perform to the music arranged by the organizers. In contrast, they were playing hard rock through their own speakers, disturbing the pleasant atmosphere. The Carnival finale was marked by the appearance of a huge bird resembling a Griffin, with an acrobat performing impressive contortionist feats on a suspended ring.
Nice Carnival is a truly spectacular sight. If you have the desire to see something unique combining both theatrical and circus art and to see outstanding acting skills by all the participants in the show, together with the most elegant carnival costumes you can imagine, you definitely have to come to Nice. It will surely be worth your while!