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February events in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region

Menton sur la Côte d'Azur

For an open-air holiday early in the year, the beautiful Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur (PACA) region of France is a great choice, due to its very mild, sunny climate. And February is the perfect time. As well as enjoying the pretty blue skies and filling up on vitamin D (the region had 1,248 hours of sunshine in 2021, which is well above the national average), you’ll be able to plan your holiday around some of the PACA region’s most iconic events:

  • the Festival du Citron, or Lemon Festival, in Menton
  • the Nice Carnival.

1 – An event which perfectly incapsulates the character of Provence: Menton’s annual Lemon Festival

Every year, the colourful town of Menton, located right on the border with the Italian Riviera, hosts an event that is unique in the world: a festival dedicated to lemons! This year, the festival takes place from 11 to 26 February 2023. That makes a whole fortnight of celebrations of this versatile fruit. The Lemon Festival in the city of Menton attracts over 200,000 visitors each year. The theme of the 2023 edition is “Rock and Opera“.

What will you see during the Menton Lemon Festival®?

First of all you can admire the parades of intricate floats composed of citrus fruits:

  • Golden Fruit Corsos – Sundays 12, 19 and 26 February 2023 from 2.30 pm to 4 pm on the promenade du soleil in Menton.
  • Night Corsos – Thursdays 16 and 23 February 2023 from 9pm to 10.30pm on the promenade du soleil in Menton.

On other days, you can discover the exhibition of citrus patterns in the Biovès Gardens. Each year, thousands of hours are spent painstakingly placing pieces of fruit one-by-one, to create these ephemeral sculptures.

Get a taste of what to expect with this clip from the exhibition of the 2020 festival, on the theme of “World Festivals”:

Then, go to the Salon de l’Artisanat to meet talented craftsmen from the Menton area. Taste some liquid sunshine, with specialities such as lemonade, limoncello, orange wine, lemonade, beer, honey, jams or olive oil infused with Menton lemon…

Finally, make sure you visit the Orchid Festival, presented by the Association des Orchidophiles et Epiphytophiles de France. Admire the sublime colours and shapes of these most unusual of flowers and fall under the spell of their heady perfume.

Festival du Citron de Menton – What you need to know

Entrance to the Orchid Festival, the citrus pattern exhibition and the craft fair is free. For the Golden Fruit and Night Corsos, you will need to buy tickets to participate. You can do this on the official Lemon Festival website.

2 – An event which captures the joie-de-vivre of the French Riviera: the Nice Carnival

Another Provence event making a holiday in the region in February very worthwhile is the Nice Carnival.

The 150th anniversary parade will take place on 11 February 2023 at 2.30 pm on the Place Massena. This will be the official kick-off of the Nice Carnival. The Rio Carnival will join the festivities of this first weekend, making it even grander and more exciting than usual. You are encouraged to get involved in the festivities by wearing a costume. The Nice Carnival celebrations will last until 26 February 2023.

Marvel at the illuminated Carnival Corso:
The Corso is a great parade of decorated and animated floats, as well as characters with “big heads”, themed on the imaginary, magical world of the Ymagiers and Carnavaliers. They will parade to the rhythm of street art troupes and musical groups from all over the world. Its grand launch will be on Saturday 11 February at 2.30 pm (lasting 90 minutes). You need a ticket to attend.They are available for purchase from €5 on the official Nice Carnival website.

You can also see the Corso on 15, 19, 22 and 26 February at 8.30pm.

Corso carnavalesque – La Parada Nissarda :

This is another parade of floats designed and created by Nice associations and districts, always proud to partake in their Carnival.  It’s a 100% Niçois experience and atmosphere, that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. This grandiose performance takes place on Saturdays and Tuesdays, in the evening from 8.30 pm, lasting about 1 hour 30 minutes. Again, tickets are required and prices start from €5.

The battle of the flowers!

This unique show is made up of actors in costume who parade on floats decorated with flowers, and who throw flowers to the public.

In order to highlight the great floral diversity of the PACA region, a gigantic flowery promenade will be set up in the middle of the Place Masséna (the NissaDrome). 250,000 stems of flowers and 21 tons of mimosas (much celebrated in the region) will be distributed to the public throughout the event. All of them will be picked by florists in the space of 72 hours.

The first one will be on Sunday 12 February 2023 at 3pm. Tickets start at €14 per adult or €5 per child.

Subsequent flower battles are on 15, 18, 22 and 25 February at 2.30pm.

Lou Queernaval: the first gay carnival in France

This popular and unique event is open to all. On the programme are animations around the themes of sharing, inclusion and living together. Feathers, make-up, glitter, extravagant parades, colourful troupes and strange creatures set the carnival alight. To take part, be at Place Masséna on Friday 17 February 2023 at 8.30pm.

The Closing Ceremony: Farewell to the King
Come together for a Farewell to the King, marked by his cremation! This ceremony will take place on the last day of the carnival, Sunday 26 February, at 2.30pm.

3 – Enjoy the calm of the campsite during your stay

Have we succeeded in whetting your appetite to take a little trip to the Nice region and experience these really unique events? Then head to our page listing the campsites near Nice right now and enter your dates to find the ones open in February. In this way, you will be able to experience the festivities but also enjoy the peace and quiet of this beautiful area, its stunning natural landscape and even enjoy a few dips in the still-balmy Mediterranean!

You may also wish to have a glance at our ideas of places to visit with kids in the wider Provence Alpes-Côte d’Azur region during your stay, or indeed to search for activities in the Nice area here.

If you head to either of these events, please share your photos and videos with us !

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