Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter on the French Riviera

Kim Defforge
After an enjoyable Indian summer, cooler temperatures have arrived along with this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau on the third Thursday of November at midnight, the legally regulated release day and time and a worldwide annual celebration of a red wine from Beaujolais, located in the Burgundy region of France. With lighted streets and holiday cheer, Nice’s main square, Place Massena, is the center of December’s holiday festivities: holiday market craft chalets, lighted holiday decorations, snow-flocked trees, a giant, lighted ferris wheel, and an ice skating rink. It’s a nice time to be in Nice, whether here as a visitor or as a resident 24/7 in France.

During and following the holiday season on the French Riviera, final preparations are also in progress for the following year’s annual, winter festivals - all of them coordinated to take place during the same time period, so that visitors can enjoy all the parades, floats, and entertainment.

Nice Carnival

The city’s iconic Mardi Gras Carnival is one of the oldest carnivals in the world and is known for its parades of vibrantly-colored floats (“corsos”), decorated with roses, mimosas, carnations (the official flower of Nice), and other flower varieties; the giant headed and massive figures (“grosses têtes”), especially the King and Queen always heading the current-year themed carnival procession (“Corso Carnavalesque”); musicians and dancers, rainbow-colored confetti; silly string among the festive crowds; and the infamous “Bataille des Fleurs”, where mimosa and other flowers are thrown to spectators...

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