The Good Life France Magazine




The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...


Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

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8 months ago

Issue No. 17

Packed with fabulous features: Carcassonne, Nimes, Orange in Provence, Nice Carnival, Paris at Christmas, Laval in Mayenne, absinthe, the fashion district of Paris, recipes, guides and more. Our secret ingredient is passion!

If, like me, you’re

If, like me, you’re used to grey skies, biting rain, sleet and snow in February – going to the Carnival at Nice is the nicest possible shock to your system. I arrived wearing a coat, gloves, scarf and hat. Within minutes they were off. It was a balmy, sunny day, the sky was blue and people were wandering about in what I class as summer clothes. It was my first time at the famous Nice Carnival and I arrived on a Sunday morning in good time for the afternoon parade. I met my friend Caterina who lives in Nice and we headed into the old town for lunch. There’s something wonderfully uplifting about sitting out in the sun sipping a chilled glass of rosé and scoffing a delicious plate of tasty grub in the middle of winter. By the time we finished, the streets were starting to fill up with people. The air of excitement was palpable and the air vibrated to the sound of music as we walked up to the famous chequered Place Massena. Nice carnival isn’t the sort of carnival that roams round the streets willy nilly. Its much more organised than that. You can buy tickets to sit in the stands at Place Massena and watch the whole thing unfold right in front of you. Street performers, dancers and the most incredible floats pass before the crowds to the sound of cheering, drums beating a hypnotic rhythm, hooting and whistling. Dance teams egg the crowd on, they rush up and down the stairs in their shiny costumes, grinning, clearly loving every minute – the upbeat music is so loud that you can feel the energy of it inside you. Confetti flies through the air, and not just a handful either – there are bucket loads of the tiny pieces of coloured paper. I was finding bits of confetti in my handbag weeks later when I was back in the cold and grey weather of home, and every time, in my head, I was back in sunny Nice.

Above: the house where Matisse once lived It’s impossible not to feel happy at the Nice Carnival, it’s a feel good, real good, joyful and crazy humdinger of an event. The carnival takes place over 15 days of mayhem, colour, flowers, floats, singing, dancing, entertainment and fun. In between carnival processions there’s loads to do. My top five not to be missed when you’re in Nice for the carnival: Markets – Cours Saleya is a large square, home to a daily market and lined with gorgeous mansion houses and cafés and restaurants galore. On Sunday there’s a flower market, Monday – antiques market, the rest of the week its food and fabulous. Musee Matisse – the artist Matisse lived and worked in Nice for many years. At one time he lived in a house on Cours Saleya, later he moved into a hotel. Eat! There are too many fantastic restaurants to mention here, but let’s just say, the Nicois love their food. (You can find some ideas for fab Nice restaurants here on The Good Life France website). Enjoy a cocktail at: the iconic seafront Negresco Hotel with its pink facade Wander: The old town is magnificent, a labyrinth of winding narrow streets, shops, restaurants, bars, galleries, museums and houses. Go in the summer and you can hardly move. Go in the winter and you’ll almost have it to yourself (in the sun). Nice Carnival 2018 is from 17 February - 3 March Website for details and to book tickets: Nice Tourism; en.nicecarnaval.com Recommended hotel: The Grand Florence