Carnaval de Nice and Fête du Citron®

In February, the French Riviera adorns itself with vibrant colors and a festive atmosphere with two flagship events: the Nice Carnival and the Fête du Citron® (Lemon Festival )in Menton. These emblematic celebrations offer a unique experience, combining spectacular parades, giant citrus sculptures, and an enchanting ambiance.

In this article, you will discover the highlights of these festivities and delve into the magical world of these two events.

The Carnaval de Nice

The Nice Carnival will take place from February 17th to March 3rd this year. Here are our tips for making the most of it.

  • Attend the Carnival Parades
King of the Nice Carnival in 2019. Wikimedia Commons.

The carnival parades are a breathtaking visual experience during the Nice Carnival. By lining up along the Promenade des Anglais, you can make the most of the colorful spectacle. The floats are often accompanied by troupes of dancers and musicians, creating a dynamic and joyful atmosphere. The details of the floats, costumes, and performances are truly impressive, offering a memorable experience for spectators of all ages.

  • Join the flower battle
Copyright Ville de Nice

The Flower Battle is an iconic event of the Nice Carnival. Picture yourself in the midst of a shower of fresh flowers as elaborately decorated floats parade in front of you. Participants throw flowers into the crowd, creating a joyful and fragrant atmosphere. It’s a unique sensory experience that captures the festive spirit of the Carnival.

  • Explore the Albert I garden
Jardin Albert Ier Nice
The main esplanade of the garden, in the background, the Bernar Venet’s Arc. Nice. Copyright Omar Ansari.

During the Carnival, the Albert I Garden transforms into a veritable citrus paradise. Monumental sculptures made from oranges and lemons adorn the garden, creating a dazzling spectacle of vibrant colors. You can stroll through the garden’s pathways, admire the floral artworks, and take photos with these unique creations.

  • Enjoy the evening shows

In the evening, the Nice Carnival takes on another dimension with music, dance, and fireworks shows. Light displays illuminate the night sky, while talented artists captivate the audience with their dazzling performances. Whether you prefer live music, contemporary dance, or street performances, there’s something for everyone.

Just a short half-hour from Nice lies Menton and its famous Lemon Festival® (it’s been a registered trademark since 1993!).

The Fête du Citron® in Menton

Every year, the Lemon Festival® is punctuated by several highlights: the Golden Fruit parades, which will take place on Sundays, February 18th, February 25th, and March 3rd, 2024, and the evening parades held on Thursdays, February 22nd and February 29th, 2024.

  • Attend the Golden Fruit Corso (Citrus Parade)
Golden Fruit Corso – 90th edition © Ville de Menton

The Golden Fruit Parade is one of the highlights of the Festival du Citron®. Floats adorned with citrus fruits parade through the streets of Menton, accompanied by brass bands and dance groups. The vibrant colors of the fruits contrast with the azure blue sky and the white of the Mediterranean buildings, creating a striking tableau. Visitors like to mingle with the crowd and admire up close the intricate details of the citrus sculptures.

  • Visit the Boviès Gardens
Copyright fafaver

The Biovès Gardens are the focal point of the Fête du Citron® in Menton.
Each year, these beautifully landscaped gardens are transformed into a dazzling citrus landscape.
Monumental sculptures representing famous landmarks, historical figures, or fantastical creatures are created from thousands of citrus fruits. The precision and detail of these works are simply astounding, offering visitors an unparalleled artistic experience.

  • Enjoy the local products
Copyright DR

It’s the perfect opportunity to discover the delights of the local cuisine based on citrus fruits. Market stalls offer a variety of enticing products such as artisanal jams, refreshing sorbets, fragrant liqueurs, and even savory dishes enhanced with citrus.
It’s a true explosion of flavors that celebrates the iconic fruit of the region.

  • Explore the old town

Take the time to explore the picturesque old town of Menton. The narrow winding streets are full of charm, with their colorful facades, local craft shops, and lively cafes. Be sure to visit the Basilique Saint-Michel, a magnificent example of Baroque architecture, before sitting down at one of the traditional restaurants to enjoy delicious Mediterranean cuisine.