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Amazing pictures from France’s colourful winter carnivals

PUBLISHED: 17:45 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:43 07 March 2018

Nice carnival © OTC Nice

Nice carnival © OTC Nice


In February and March, carnivals across France celebrate the end of winter with colourful parades and festivities. These are some of our favourite photos from the carnivals, including Nice, Menton, Granville and Strasbourg

Carnaval de Nice, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Nice carnival is one of the largest carnivals in the world and transforms the Riviera city into a riot of colour for two weeks in February.

There is a different theme each year and floats are decorated to reflect this theme and paraded through Place Masséna. In 2018 the theme is ‘king of space’.

There are also ‘flower battles’ where thousands of flowers are thrown into the crowd.

Fete du Citron, Menton, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

The world-famous lemon festival in Menton began in the 1930s and now attracts more than 250,000 visitors to discover the amazing sculptures made from citrus fruit.

More than 15 tonnes of citrus fruit are used to create the sculptures which are based around a different theme each year. In 2018 the theme was ‘Bollywood’ and so a number of Hindu gods and monuments like the Taj Mahal were depicted in lemons.

The sculptures are on display throughout the town and there are also parades of floats and dancers and spectacular evening light shows.


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Fête du Mimosa, Mandelieu-la-Napoule, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Along the Côte d’Azur, yellow mimosa trees appear in February and the local flower is celebrated each year at the Fête du Mimosa in the town of Mandelieu-la-Napoule.

The festival includes a parade of marching bands and floats, flower battles and a Miss Mimosa pageant.

Carnaval des Deux Rives, Bordeaux, Nouvelle Aquitaine

Every year, amateur artists gather in Bordeaux to celebrate their art with a parade of weird and wonderful characters made from recycled materials.

Although the carnival has only be running for around twenty years it is a cause of great excitement in the city and among the artistic community who showcase their work.


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Carnaval de Granville, Normandy

The Granville carnival is the largest carnival in Normandy and is thought to have begun a century ago with the local fisherman having a final party before setting off to sea.

There is a parade and a confetti battle that lasts well into the night and attracts more than 120,000 visitors.

Carnaval de Dunkerque, Dunkirk, Hauts-de-France

The Dunkirk carnival also traces its roots back to the local fishermen’s final fling before setting off for months at sea.

Events take place from January to March and include parades, balls and even kipper throwing!


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Carnaval de Strasbourg, Grand-Est

More than 40 floats and 3,000 street performers parade through the centre of Strasbourg during the carnival.

The parade finishes at the Place Kléber where there is live music on an outdoor stage.

Carnaval de Mulhouse, Grand-Est

The Mulhouse carnival aims to cheer everyone up after a long winter with a colourful fancy dress parade through the streets.

There is also a carnival ‘village’, a tea dance and the election of the carnival king or queen.


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