Nice Carnival – Glamour, Sun and Culture on a Budget

Nice Carnival 2015

The Nice Carnival attracts thousands of backpackers to the French Riviera each year. Held every February, the Lent carnival may seem like a decadent playground for rich people.

Wealth comes naturally in this part of the world, but the French city has a large number of budget hostels and cheap hotels available.

Nice is surprisingly affordable if you look beyond its luxury image. Backpackers can enjoy fresh local cuisine and delicious wine on a budget in southern France. It’s no more expensive than Spain or Italy. Also it has some fantastic museums and cheap public transport too.

Furthermore, the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle and sunshine won’t cost you a thing!


Situated on the glittering beaches of the Mediterranean, the Nice Carnival is the social highlight of the Cote d’Azur. From its medieval origins in the 13th century, it has now become a glorious twelve day party running from 13 February – 1 March 2015.

As the largest winter event on the French Riviera, the Carnival now attracts one million visitors each year. Celebrated across the world 40 days before Easter, Carnival is the final party before Ash Wednesday and Lent.  Nice’s celebration culminates with its Mardi Gras on the last day.

The Battle of Flowers

The Battle of Flowers Nice Carnival

Bataille de Fleurs takes place on various days throughout the Nice Carnival. Floats will throw freshly cut flowers into the crowd as they make their way along the Promenade des Anglais.

Nice Carnival Parade Of Lights

Nice Carnival Parade Of LightsTaking place throughout the carnival at night time, the Parade of Lights is one of the highlights of the French winter season.

Nice Carnival Mardi Gras

Nice Carnival Parade
Picture: REUTERS

Around 30 floats take centre stage during the Mardi Gras using around 50 giant puppets (grosses tetes or big heads) in a spectacular parade. Street theatre and music groups from all over the world take part in the daytime and evening festivities.

Come nightfall, the parade floats are illuminated making it a glorious spectacle and brilliant entertainment for everyone with a ticket.

Where to stay in Nice

Hotel Residence Comte De Nice

  • Villa Saint Exupery Beach is a stylish hostel only 50 metres from Nice’s gorgeous beach front and the Old Town. Rooms are available from €16.00 per person.
  • Hostel Paradis is situated just a few yards from the beach front and is surrounded by fantastic restaurants and luxury shops. Rooms are available from €13.44 per person.
  • Hotel Du Centre is a private friendly hotel only a few metres from the train station. Rooms are available from €19.35 per person.
  • Hotel Residence Comte De Nice is a family run hotel with simple modern furnishings. Rooms are available from €24.52 per person.