And Nice also means the place where one of the world’s most famous carnivals is held in February/ March time. For about three weeks, the city becomes a hive of jollity and partying as it has been for well over 700 years with some 150,000 visitors flocking into the city to watch the floats and enjoy the spectacle. Next year, they celebrate the 130th anniversary of the re-birth of the modern carnival. Opening on February 15th, the theme in 2103 will be “king of five continents.” Adult prices will run about €20-€25 euros per seat but you can get away without a seat for many events. And the opening festivities and closing fireworks (on March 6th) are free.
Gone are the days when Nice and the Riviera attracted only the well-heeled. Today there are over 200 hotels in the city alone (some 600 in the whole of the Riviera) and 10,000 rooms all to suit a different range of tastes. And low cost airlines flights have mushroomed, helping to bring in four million visitors. Yes, at carnival time it can be crowded but that’s half of the fun of a carnival. From the UK and Ireland there are direct flights from fifteen different airports. The only country not having a direct link is Wales. You’ll need to get to Bristol, Liverpool or Manchester for a flight.
One of the reasons there are so many flights is because we have been fascinated with the Riviera and the carnival for decades. A fifth of all overseas visitors come from the UK and Ireland which means English is widely spoken here. The influence is strong and the main road along the beach is even called Promenade des Anglais. Even more visitors come now because Nice is a popular (and the most visited in France) stop for cruise ships.
So come carnival time, it needn’t be as expensive as you might think to go there.
Image © http://www.nicecarnaval.com