• Riviera Insider editorial

Nice Carnival cancelled but still plenty of events to be had

Although it can't take place physically this year, the city of Nice has exciting events planned to keep the carnival spirit alive!

Le rio du cinema from the 2019 Carnival. c. Ville de Nice

An unmissable event in the city of Nice and the Nice Côte d’Azur metropole, the Nice Carnival was the first in France and is one of the world’s most famous, alongside those of Venice and Rio. Every year it attracts 200,000 visitors, 18% of whom are foreign tourists, bringing almost 30 million euros into the local economy.

Given the current health crisis and the attendance that such an event attracts, the Nice Carnival "King of the Animals", initially scheduled from February 13 to 27, 2021 has been postponed to 2022. It was a decision taken last December by Christian Estrosi who, since the beginning of the health crisis, has always made the protection and health of Nice residents a priority. This decision was further reinforced by the government's announcements that it has decided to close the national border with countries outside the European Union and to impose a negative PCR test for any entry into France from the EU.

But Carnival will go on!

Despite this postponement, the City of Nice has committed to supporting the work of the Carnavaliers, whose craftsmanship is part of the city's intangible cultural heritage. This expertise will be presented and promoted throughout 2021, as part of the Nice and regional events program.

On the 2021 programme:

The new Carnival structure in Place Massena c. Ville de Nice
  • 16th February - A Carnival King structure 'Carnavalovirus' installed in Place Masséna.

  • Weekend of 20th February - Place Masséna will be decorated with mimosa flowers to honor the famous Battle of Flowers (1 ton of mimosas have been ordered).

  • Evening of 26th February - Moya’s cyber carnival takes place. It brings together people from five continents, connected through their computer avatars. Everyone will participate in a virtual parade based on a 3D reproduction of Place Masséna, in the artistic realm of Second Life.

  • Evening of 27th February - Bonfire of the Carnival King structure.

20th February to 7th March (Winter Holidays):

The Battle of Flowers from the 2019 Carnival. c. Ville de Nice
  • A communications campaign on the theme of ‘Carnival in the Hearts of the Nicois’” to introduce the 2022 carnival.

  • Exhibition presented along the Promenade des Anglais will portray the value of carnival workers’ skills and retrace the traditions and history of the Carnival of Nice.

  • The people of Nice will be involved through social media by challenges launched to invite them to take photos dressed up in costume, to keep the spirit of the carnival alive

  • Several leisure centres and AnimaNice will be celebrating - on the programme during February school holidays are workshops on the making of small floats, ‘big heads’, costumes and disguises, as well as cooking classes.

  • A Nicois cooking workshop will take place online at the time of the carnival, proposing symbolic recipes for the occasion.

  • The short film ‘The Carnival of Martine Doytier’ by Alan Amiel will be broadcast on and social media (23 minutes, production by Les Ami(e)s de Martine Doytier). The film tells the story of the carnival by exploring the spectacular painting ‘Carnival 1981’, painted by this key artist of the Nice art scene and whose major works belong to the collections of the City of Nice, thanks to Jean Ferrero donation. To the sound of music created specially by Martine Doytier’s son, Nice musician Brice Delacquis Doytier, the story of the carnival is told by the great historian, Annie Sidro. Martine Doytier himself is also present thanks to television archives and explains with eloquence the adventure that was creating this painting. This documentary film was born from a collaboration between Marc Sanchez, president of the ‘Friends of Martine Doytier’ association and Alain Amiel, writer and art critic. It is the preamble to a future major exhibition composed of objects and artwork never before seen by the wider public.

Some extra funds

In addition, in order to give carnival workers greater latitude in the creation of floats for the 2022 ‘King of the Animals’ carnival, they will be able to begin their design from the end of the first quarter of 2021. Furthermore, in support of the carnival workers and their craftsmanship, a 15% increase has been applied to the float and animation element markets, which this year translates into an increase of +136,800 euros (excluding VAT) for the 17 float market lots and +21,000 euros (excluding VAT) for the 14 animation element market lots, making a total of 157,000 euros (excluding VAT) to their advantage.

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