david and i went to the ‘bataille de fleurs’, the flower parade, at the carnaval de nice last saturday. it was amazing!! i felt like a little kid again…the atmosphere was so jubilant and festive, musicians playing, confetti flying everywhere and flowers, flowers, flowers!!
and if you happened to get a stream of silly string flung at you, you just shoot it right back – – silly string wars were happening constantly to our left, to our right (and some sneaky little kids behind us that kept spraying the crabby lady in front of us!).
confetti was flying everywhere, as well as flowers being thrown from the floats and the people in the parade, it was great! it was all in good fun and it was made all the better with the amazing weather we had!
i was literally like a little kid, i kept saying to david (who has seen the carnaval a million times when he lived on the promenade for years…he’s totally ‘over it’) “look at that one!”, “oh that is awesome!”, “oh wait, i like that one better!!”, “look at her costume!”…..and it went on and on…..photos and all. he just smiled and let me take in all the fun, as annoying as i probably was…
a little bit of history i found:
“The most widely-believed origin of the word “carnival” is from the old Italian “carne levare”, meaning “away with meat”. By the Middle Ages, the people of Nice, before fasting forty days, as appropriate for the Catholic tradition of Lent, enjoyed rich and plentiful dining….
The first reference to a carnival in Nice in the history books dates back to 1294 when Charles d’Anjou, Count of Provence, mentions having spent “some joyous days of carnival” in the city. But In the 17th century excesses were brought under control by the “Abbés des Fous” whose role was to regulate the population. At this time, under the influence of the famous Venice Carnival, balls become more common that street entertainment…
However, the first carnival parade, which is typical of the modern carnival, was inaugurated in 1830 in honor of Charles Felix and Marie-Christine, sovereigns of the Piedmont Sardinia Kingdom. The parade involved a display of thirty carriages before the king and Queen to announce the start of the carnival.
The carnival in the form we know it today was started in 1873, with the founding of the “Festival Committee” which would organize the carnival and massively increase it in size under the patronage of the city’s governors. Now parades and floats, paying stands and a more organized event made their appearance. It was at this time that one of the carnival’s most spectacular and fascinating features was born. The local artist Alexis Mosssa together with his son Gustav Adolf brought a surprising particularity, at once both fabulous and grotesque – the now famous giant models which have become its hallmark.
The first Flower Procession was started in 1876 on the Promenade des Anglais. The same location has been used ever since and it has developed into a glorious show, an important part of today’s carnival.”
“The Carnival of Nice, the largest winter event on the French Riviera, will be held for the 125th time, and will return to Place Massena, one of the city’s historic squares….”
“This year’s theme, “King of Masquerades”, will be stages in a Carnival Parage with twenty monumental floates, accompanied by more than two hundred ‘big heads’.
“The theme evokes the art of concealment in every sense : wearing a mask, changing one’s appearance, staging, in short the art of deception. From a simple disguise to plastic surgery, from manipulation to celebrity press & the Carnival is no longer the only realm of fancy dress and device in all its forms, represented in a modern and outrageous fantasy…”
the ladies on stilts were so whimsical and beautiful, and one can’t help but wonder, how do they not fall!
the dinosaur was amazing – – it was probably 50 ft long – – ‘breathing’ fire (ok, we so it was fake smoke, but it was really cool)…and it was fully animated, so they would tilt it’s head up high and swing back across into the crowds, it was very well done and quite fantastic to look at!
this is an example of one of the flower floats, at the end of the parade (and somewhat throughout), the ladies on the floats would throw flowers (mainly mimosa’s) out into the crowd. you’d better be quick to grab some or you’ll miss out!
i loved the feathers on this group of gals, bright pink! david said that this alone was worth his 10 Euro admission fee……oh wait, i think he said that about the other scantily clad ladies, the one’s wearing the thongs! (haa haa!)