The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

Annual local events

May is the month of the rose and where better to celebrate this than in the world’s perfume capital, Grasse, on the French Riviera.  Every year, over a weekend in early to mid May, the city honours the rose in all its forms at a 3 day festival, ExpoRose.  This year 8500 bouquets, 13000 rose bushes and over 25000 cut roses decorated fountains, statues, shop fronts and public squares throughout Grasse.  Dance and music performances, tastings of everything rose-flavoured, along with a market selling rose-themed gifts and food, and of course rose plants of every colour and variety imaginable, complete the festival. 

ExpoRose rose festival Grasse French Riviera

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Easter Carnival on the French Riviera

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As spring arrives on the Côte d’Azur, towns and villages across the region come out to play.  Fêtes and celebrations of all sorts take place, heralding the end of winter and the arrival of the good weather.  Last year on Easter Monday we went to the Fête de l’Oranger in le Bar sur Loup, a village festival all about oranges.  This Easter with family visiting with young kids we thought it would be fun to try out the Carnival in Vence, a family-friendly affair.

Vence carnival Queen

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Nice Carnival is over for another year.  The biggest winter event on the French Riviera, attracting around one million visitors over the two week period, left me divided in opinion this time.  Having always been an outright supporter, keenly participating every year and loving the satirical, irreverant humour of the "big heads" decorated floats, it just didn't quite click this year.  Read on as I muse on why and how this has come about.

flower battle float crowds

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Mid Summer Solstice and Fire!

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I've written before about how June is the month of fêtes, full of festivities, festivals and fun.  Once again it's sped by at breakneck speed and tomorrow it'll be July, with the "official" start of the summer season. But just before that happens let me show you what happened in my town, Roquefort les Pins, last Saturday night.

fireworks in Roquefort les Pins French Riviera

To celebrate the Summer Solstice, Roquefort holds a fire festival la Fête du Feu de la St Jean every year, consisting of fireworks and fire jumping.  The Mairie becomes the backdrop for some pretty impressive (and alarmingly close) fireworks.  Along with a sizeable crowd watching from only 30-40 metres away, we ooed and aahed with each increasingly loud and long burst of colourful sparkles, reflecting that our taxes were literally going up in smoke! (Me, cynical..noooo!)

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The Côte d'Azur and its surrounding countryside, in fact the whole of the département of the Alpes-Maritimes, is covered in historic fortified hill villages; some well known, others hidden and secret. There are literally hundreds and many of them have an annual festival of some sort celebrating their artisanal or historical traditions.  Some of the bigger town fêtes are well known such as the lemon festival in Menton, mimosa in Mandelieu, and ExpoRose in Grasse.  Others are less known such as the traditional trades fair in la Colle sur Loup, the renaissance fair in Villeneve-Loubet and the fête de la courge in Châteauneuf. Every Easter Monday it's the turn of le Bar sur Loup to celebrate its orange trees.

orange peeler at fête de loranger in Bar sur Loup

Le Bar sur Loup is magnificently located on a rocky hillside over looking the entrance to the Gorges du Loup about 10 kms north-east of Grasse.  It is a gorgeous, well renovated village perché with a surprising number of excellent restaurants. (That was a little aside as one of my favourite places to eat is in this unlikely place and I couldn't help myself!)...

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