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March 2011

Nice Carnival 2011

Above: the cool timelapsed video on the Nice Carnival 2011 by Yann Coatsaliou.

It's back and as exuberant as ever!


The Nice Carnival has begun and it runs for 20 days: February 18 to March 8 2011.

This year's carnival theme? It's the Mediterranean Sea. 20 floats with 30 big smiling heads will bob up and down the Promenade des Anglais blowing confettis (20 tons expected in total!) and drawing awe from spectators. All of the big heads will be related to the sea and to the history of the Med. Made of papier-maché by "Carnavaliers" in very intense workshops, these giant-sized cartoon heads need a lot of energy to carry along. Each person carrying a big head expends basically covers the distance of a marathon race over the course of the carnival.


Expect lots of good cheer all around. Some of the floats subjects are a riot: "King of the Greek Loans!", "The Tourist", "Pan Bagnat or Ham Burger".


Where does it run?

Carnival parade starts with a loop at the Place Masséna, a prime spot for spectators. The flower parades take place on the Promenade des Anglais between Place des Phocéens and Rue de Rivoli.



Where is the official program?

See the official program web site.

The French Riviera Mimosa Footpaths


It's February and the king of French Riviera winters is in bloom. All over the hills of the Massif du Tanneron, the Estérel and the Maures Mountains the mimosa colors the hills yellow.  

Soon, French Riviera towns will celebrate the yellow flowers: Mandelieu celebrates it with floral floats that parade through the streets at its Fête du Mimosa from february 18-21 2011. The parades on February 26 and 27th take place at the port of Mandelieu la Napoule beginning at 2:30PM.

If you're interested in a more quiet celebration, you can hike among the forests of mimosas. One fun easy hike by Roquebrune-sur-Argens takes place along the Piste du Vernet. If you're going without a map or hiking guide, it's easiest to just stay on the main path and head back the way you came. Loops are possible, but best with a map or guide if you're not familiar with the area.

Begin by the camping Les Claux off the D7 road that heads to/from Roquebrune-sur-Argens (see Google map below). You'll notice a green panel marked "Moulin à Huile - Clos St Martin" off the D7, opposite the entrance to the Les Claux camping. Turn into the road that leads to the Les Claux grounds and then right on the F7 Chemin Neuf path. You can park right there, alongside the road. You'll hike up the next road on your left then veer left off the road onto a marked footpath. It's actually the GR51 footpath. Go as far as you like on this path. After about 2 miles, you'll be surrounded by a mimosa forest.