The Lemon Festival, the Battle of Flowers & Nice Carnival - French Riviera February/March

Nicknamed the "Cité des Citrons" (City of Lemons), every year Menton in the Alpes-Maritimes celebrates this local product. The Fête du Citron is an event unique in the world, featuring giant designs made exclusively from citrus fruits and floats decorated with oranges and lemons.

In a unique setting, on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, the elegant ‘Battle of Flowers’ are part of the annual February Carnival. On floats decorated with the most stunning floral compositions, extravagantly dressed characters throw mimosas, gerberas and lilies on to the streets.

The Nice Carnival Parade is made up of eighteen floats designed on the a different theme each year. Giant figurines, including 30 made from traditional papier-mâché, perform during a colourful parade along with street theatre and music groups from all around the world. In the evening all the floats are illuminated - lighting up the heart of Nice.

  • Our package includes:
    • 5 days / 4 nights duration – departing selected dates in February/March 
    • Return transportation to the South of France
    • 4 nights B & B at a minimum 3* hotel on the Cote D’Azur - ensuite rooms. Dinners can be pre-arranged
    • Private local coach for the daily excursions with entrances as set out overleaf + 1 x lunch
    • Entrance in to the Jardin des Bioves in Menton (Lemon Festival)
    • Reserved Grandstand seats for both the Parade of Lights + the Battle of the Flowers Parade in Nice
    • The itinerary will be subject to change dependent on the hotel location
  • Price on application 
  • Single occupancy rooms are available with a small supplement.

 To tailor-make your tour or for a personalised quotation call 01943 605999.

Sample Itinerary  

Day 1 - Arriving at your hotel on the Cote d’Azur, your base for the next 4 nights.

Day 2 - Today is dedicated to Menton where we begin with an included visit to the Jardin des Biovès. During the Lemon Festival this large park in the town centre is the central stage for an array of static sculptures, designed to the annual theme, which are covered and made from thousands of oranges and lemons. It is a truly spectacular sight and is the centre of the Lemon Festival’s activities during a three week period, when thousands of visitors flock to the beautiful coastal town of Menton for this spectacular event. There will be free time afterwards for you to explore Menton at your leisure which has a superb pedestrianised shopping area full of small boutiques and local speciality shops. Take a stroll along the promenade where the Mediterranean Sea laps the shore and where you can enjoy an array of refreshments ‘al fresco’ in one of the many cafes and restaurants. This evening we include reserved Grandstand seating for the Nice Carnival Parade of Lights. The Nice Carnival Parade is made up of eighteen floats designed on the a different theme each year. Giant figurines, including 30 made from traditional papier-mâché, perform during a colourful parade along with street theatre and music groups from all around the world. In the evening all the floats are illuminated - lighting up the heart of Nice.

Day 3 - Today will be based in the City of Nice where we start with a guided tour by coach and on foot. Nice is the capital of the Riviera and is a buzzing city full of culture, excellent restaurants and good shopping. There are distinct districts including the medieval quarter and the Italianate quarter which belies the town’s past as part of Italy. There are also many mansions of the rich which show its past pedigree as one of the most fashionable resorts in Europe. During your free time afterwards, you might choose to visit one of the excellent museums or relax and enjoy a stroll on the Promenade des Anglais and do as the French do and watch the world go by! This afternoon you will have pre-booked seated Grandstand tickets to one of the main winter events on the Riviera. It was on the seafront, along Promenade des Anglais, that the first Flower Parade was held in 1876. Soon, the timid exchanges of bouquets of flowers between the rich winter visitors' decorated carriages developed into a prestigious show, now an integral part of the Carnival. Today, this event promotes the quality and large variety of Riviera flowers as some 90% of flowers used are produced locally. Enjoy the spectacle of flower covered floats which parade along the Promenade des Anglais and the Quai des Etats Unis.

Day 4 - Today we travel by coach to the Principality of Monaco and Monte Carlo where we include a Hop On, Hop Off Bus Pass which you can use as much as you want during your time here so that you can explore the main sights at your own pace. You will see the stunning Oceanographic Museum, The Port, the famous Casino and gardens as well as the old town with its ramparts and Princely Palace. We suggest you allow time to discover the old town on foot with its narrow alleyways from the middle ages, which lead to the picturesque Place Saint Nicolas and Placette Bosio, the Chapel of Mercy, Palais de Justice and the Cathedral, a Roman-Byzantine style building built in 1875. You should aim to be in the Place du Palais to see the changing of the guard which takes place in front of the Princely Palace daily at 11.55hrs promptly. There is an exceptional panoramic view from the Palace area overlooking the famous marina which is always full of spectacular private yachts. Walking down from the old town you might visit the Saint Martin Gardens which were planted in the 1830’s during the reign of Prince Honoré V, which surround the Oceanographic Museum, a marvellous piece of architecture in the Principality. Take time to stroll around the marina and the Monaco Yacht Club, which will give you a different perspective of the town before continuing on to the Casino which even if only viewed from the outside, is a must-see. Leaving Monaco we travel in to the hills to the village of Eze, where overlooking the sea is the perfume factory & laboratory of Fragonard where some of their products are made including perfumery,soaps and cosmetics. You may choose to take part in a guided tour of the perfumery whilst here, where you will learn about the manufacturing secrets which involve the best natural raw ingredients and a high degree of know-how that combines craftsmanship and modern techniques. There will also be some free time to visit the village itself with its beautiful cobblestone streets and hot-pink bougainvillea clad buildings.

Day 5 - Checking out of the hotel this morning, our first visit will be to the Greek Villa Krylos where an audio guided tour is included. In the enchanting site of the Bay of Ants, this early 20th-century villa is a perfect reproduction of an ancient Greek home with its mosaics and baths. In the Galerie des Antiques there are casts of the most famous Greek statues, in all their glory. This building is luxurious, beautiful and has a magnificent view over Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. We continue on to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild entrance, audio guide and 2 course lunch with wine and coffee are included). Built on the narrowest part of the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat promontory, this sumptuous palazzo, one of the finest listed buildings on the French Riviera, has views over the Bay of Villefranche on one side and the Bay of Beaulieu on the other. The Villa is surrounded by nine magnificent gardens offering patios, waterfalls, ponds, herbaceous borders, shady paths and rare trees. These are the Florentine, Spanish French, Exotic, Japanese, Stone and Provencal gardens. Departing here this afternoon, we travel into the hills above the Cote d’Azur to the picturesque town of St-Paul de Vence, where medieval walls encircle narrow streets and capture the heritage of more than a thousand years. The fountain at the heart of the village fills St-Paul's medieval vaults with music. It is well-known as a haven for artists from all schools, who rub shoulders with their illustrious peers including Folon, Tobiasse, César and Niky de Saint-Phalle. The village is an open-air gallery with artists at work in their studios and exciting exhibitions. Your time here is free to explore at your leisure, or you might even enjoy a game of Provençal "boules" (pétanque), which you can hire from the Tourist Office and which is played on the hard sand square dappled in shade. An early dinner can be purchased locally here before your return journey to the UK.

Simply Groups reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary due to circumstances beyond our control.

With all packages we supply a tailor-made flyer to assist in the promotion of your group holiday, along with a booking form which provides us with all the details we require from each participant.

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