The Nice Carnaval 2018. Photo credit: OT Nice

Ready to party like it’s 1269? From the Alps to Languedoc, France has plenty of carnivals to rival Venice’s masked whoopee…

NICE

Nope, your eyes don’t deceive you. The 2018 Nice Carnaval kicked off its high-octane parade with a giant dummy of Donald Trump blasting Kim Jong-un out of a cannon. What the grotesque papier-mâché effigy of Theresa May humping Big Ben hot on its wheels – or, indeed, the fanged ‘likeness’ of Erdogan bringing up the rear, Putin in tow – had to do with the procession’s promised space theme was anyone’s guess.

Mind you, you never quite know who is going to come tearing through the city astride those kooky oats. And with a string of disgraced filmmakers and luvvies ripe for pillorying in the wake of the Me Too scandal, we dare not imagine the sort of creations this year’s “King of Cinema” theme might spawn… The crackpot parade(s) aside, the perennially popular (and muscular) Bataille de Fleurs – which sees locals push and shove to lay their hands on the thousands of buds showered on the crowd by costumed ‘flower girls’ – will return. Never a dull moment at Nice Carnaval, which takes place February 16 to March 2. For more information visit http://en.nicecarnaval.com/.

Carnival in Castres. Photo credit: Ville de Castres

CASTRES

As the ‘Little Venice of Languedoc‘, it follows that Castres should boast one of the most glorious carnivals around. Don’t miss the Festa sull’acqua – a water parade featuring a floating procession of dancers, acrobats and fire-eaters! From March 15 – 17. For more information visit www.ville-castres.fr.

Carnival in Annecy. Photo credit: Lac-Annecy

ANNECY

Another ‘Little Venice’ (this time of the Alps) Annecy’s Venetian extravaganza gives the birthplace of carnivals a run for its money with its spectacular cortège of masked figures gliding through the Old Town. From March 15 – 17. For more information visit www.lac-annecy.com

LIMOUX

With three months of non-stop revels and twice-weekly parades tearing through town, Limoux’s carnival is the world’s longest – and sweetest. Watch out for the occasional showers of sugar almonds. Until April 7. For more information visit www.limoux.fr

From France Today magazine

Fécos during one of the Carnaval’s afternoon parades
© Ville de Limoux
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