Cote d'Azur Stories and Tips

The King is Dead ... Until Next Year

There were many reasons that I was desperately looking forward to the emf of the Nice Carnival. First, the disruption to tram services and to traffic caused by the closing of roads in the city centre would cease. Second, I had quickly grown tired of young children throwing confetti at me any time I was close to Place Massena. These two points probably make me sound tremendously grouchy. Thankfully, there was also another aspect of the Carnival that I was looking forward to - the Grand Finale.

The Finale was scheduled to take place on a Sunday evening and was set to feature a huge firework display. I was excited, but also a little reticent at this prospect. I was excited because the fireworks at the opening of the Carnival had been fantastic, but I was reticent because I had a chequered history with fireworks on the Promenade. I had seen two previous displays. The first had taken place on Bastille Day the previous year and had been rather impressive. The second had been on New Year's Eve and were rather shoddy - even having drunk plenty of wine I was not so impressed.

Thankfully, the closing fireworks for the Carnival were closer to Bastille Day than to New Year's. The Promenade des Anglais was full to bursting, which created a fantastic atmosphere. There were hundreds of people - mostly children - in fancy dress. When we arrived, the fireworks had not started and the whole place seemed to be buzzing with anticipation. It seemed everyone expected the Carnival to end with a bang, both literally and figuratively.

The fireworks began at a rather sedate pace. It seemed rather small scale and was not really capturing the imagination. However, as the display progressed, the scale, the brightness and the volume grew and grew. As things began to crescendo, the display was on such a scale that the whole panorama was filled with bright spark and it felt as though some of the fireworks would actually cascade into the crowd. The display was very well planned and built up to a fantastic finale that felt like a ballet crossed with an artillery barrage. It was met by a stirring round of applause from the whole Promenade.

The firework display was impressive. However, there was one slightly strange aspect to it. The theme of the Carnival was sport. Therefore, the music that accompanied the fireworks was sport themed. Some of the choices, though, were a touch strange. There were some regular examples such as the Rocky Theme and Simply the Best. There was also Three Lions, the English Football World Cup song - it seemed a bizarre choice.

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