You probably wouldn’t associate France with Carnival time but, in fact, the French love a good festival. Literally translated, Mardi Gras means ‘Fat Tuesday’ or Shrove Tuesday for those in the UK. It is a time when the French dress up in Carnival costumes and masks, paint their faces and take to the streets singing and dancing alongside gigantic and brightly coloured floats. The best place to go during the Mardi Gras celebrations is most definitely in the French Riviera region especially in the city of Nice where the festivities are believed to have originated. It is the biggest event of the whole of the French Riviera. The streets of Nice come to life for ten days with daily parades, fun-filled events and spectacular firework displays in the evenings which brighten up the night sky. Mardi Gras is also a time when the French eat lots of traditional foods such as Crêpes, Gaufres, Merveilles and sweets before the beginning of Lent; an ideal time to delight yourself also with these delicious treats.
The Gourd Festival or as they say in French, Le Festin des Cougourdons, is an event that celebrates the coming of spring and is held annually in the month of March (date varies). The centrepiece for the Gourd Festival, as its name suggests, is the gourd vegetable (word used to describe pumpkins, cucumbers, squash, luffas and melons) which is celebrated for its resourcefulness. Held in Nice’s Cimiez gardens, the event features plenty of delicious food tasting opportunities with entertainment brought to you by local folklore groups which provide singing and dancing to accompany the displays. There are also great exhibitions which include painted and engraved gourds.
Musicalia is a huge cultural event that brings musical performances of all kinds of genres to the Promenade des Anglais in the city of Nice annually during the month of July. With an emphasis on Mediterranean music, the Musicalia festival provides lots of singing and dancing for you to join in on plus dance performances and short film screenings.
For a very long time, Jazz music has been greatly associated with the city of Nice. Held annually in the month of July at the Arènes de Cimiez, the Nice Jazz Festival is one of three major European jazz events. Inviting thousands of spectators from all over the world every summer, the festival features over 500 musicians, 75 concerts and plenty of entertainment during 8 days straight. This event is so popular as it is a chance to listen to all aspects of jazz music ranging from blues to gospel or from African roots to avant-garde. The Nice Jazz Festival is a must event for all Jazz lovers to get a chance to listen to the most prestigious jazz musicians of our time.