Winter Festivals on the Côte d’Azur

A citrus escargot on parade at the Fête du Citron in Menton

Winter Festivals on the Côte d'Azur

“As if sunny days, mild temperatures and blossoming mimosa weren’t enough, February also brings three fun festivals to the Côte d’Azur. For the first time this year, the three cities—Nice, Menton and Mandelieu-La Napoule—have coordinated the dates of their festivals so that visitors can take advantage of all the parades, floats, activities and exhibits during the festival weeks from February 15 through March 6.

Winter Festivals on the Côte d'Azur
A château made of citrus fruit at the Fête du Citron in Menton
Winter Festivals on the Côte d'Azur
The Eiffel Tower in citrus fruit at the Jardin Biovès in Menton
Winter Festivals on the Côte d'Azur
A float at the Nice Carnival

Parades, flower-decorated floats and revelers fill the streets of Nice as the city celebrates its traditional Mardi Gras Carnival. Highlights are the corsos, or parades of colorful floats, led by the King and Queen of the Carnival and showered by tons of rainbow-hued confetti; the Grosses Têtes, giant figures that accompany the floats; and the Batailles des Fleurs, floats decorated with thousands of the gorgeous flowers that grow on the Côte d’Azur: roses, mimosa, carnations, gladiolus, daisies and other blossoms. Musicians and dancers from all over the world add to the fun. February 15 through March 6.

Menton’s annual Lemon Festival sparkles with day and night parades, floats decorated with more than 100 tons of citrus fruit and giant citrus “sculptures” in parks and gardens. This year’s festival is the 80th Fête du Citron in this lovely town on the Italian border. The city’s many gardens celebrate citrus fruit with guided tours, and the fruit can also be enjoyed in citrus-themed dishes in local restaurants, artisanal marmalades and confitures, and cocktails. February 16 through March 6.

The Mimosa Festival in Mandelieu-La Napoule focuses on the brilliant yellow flower native to Australia that flourished so well on the Côte d’Azur that a profession called mimosiste appeared—specialists in the cultivation and forcing of mimosa. The flower, exported from La Napoule to the north of France and to foreign countries, became an important part of the local economy, and the first Mimosa Festival honored the blossom in 1931. Today, twelve tons of local mimosa blooms adorn the festival’s floats and other decorations; there are daytime parades and illuminated night parades; a Mimosa Queen is elected, and there’s even a Route du Mimosa, an 80-mile itinerary from Bormes-les-Mimosas to Grasse, that winds through the region’s perfumed, mimosa-covered hills. February 15-24.”

Personal Note:  I highly recommend seeing the Lemon Festival in Menton, which is amazingly done.  I have also seen portions of the Carnaval in Nice, which is a memorable, fun experience, as well.

(Source: France Today by Vivian Thomas)

(Photo source: Office de Tourisme de menton- N.Sartore/

8 thoughts on “Winter Festivals on the Côte d’Azur

  1. Angie Symes says:

    Hi Kim

    Pleased I get your blog each week as know what you are up to .

    We had good trip and john pleased with work so far.

    I came back from the frozen North with a dreadful cold and just getting over it.

    Hope to do Britten’s walk next week if you can make that especially because it ends up in Menton where we should be able to get a peek at the displays in park.

    Still hoping we can get a drink with you sometime but not free now until week beg of Carnival which would be fun?

    Maybe over one of the w’ends or next Friday night when it all starts we could meet up. I usually go with Jackie that night but if you and Bruno fancy joining us I could see if I can persuade John too.

    A x

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Marina says:

    Merci de ce partage. Je viens toujours avec un grand plaisir lire votre (ton?) blog :))

  3. Merci Marina – C’est tres gentil et j’apprecie que vous y preniez plaisir!

  4. I can imagine the winter festivals in France pales those in Portugal into insignificance 🙂 Just looking at the snail picture set against the backdrop of the blue med sets the scene. I’ve only ever driven through this part of France before – perhaps we should break our journey and stay awhile

  5. Sorry you had trouble accessing the site – not sure why that happened. It was a strong pungent taste – indescribable – meaning it doesn’t taste like chicken 🙂

  6. Lisaman says:

    What do they do with all that fruit afterwards.. It looks amazing but seems such a waste of good tasty fruit.. Have just made a pot of citrus marmelade.. It is delicious!

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