Ok so we were toying with the ideal of going here. Could we be bothered? When Sunday comes around we’re all pretty tired. The boys usually have cycle training in readiness for the season and Miss Normandy has horse riding lessons on a Saturday morning – at the incredibly reasonable amount of 20 euros a lesson. Did I mention that things to do here are far cheaper than in the UK? Yes, you have blah blah. Well I’m telling you again!
This has got to be the world’s longest term EVER! They went back to school, I think on 8th January and they don’t break up until 23rd February. Granted, they get two weeks off instead of one but that’s if
they I make it till then.
In any event, I had watched footage of this carnival prior to moving here. I knew someone who had already moved over and thought wow wouldn’t this be great to go to. The carnival was in it’s 144th year! Amazing. Not sure why it’s in February – maybe because nothing else is going on so actually probably a #genius #idea.
So much effort goes into making the floats – it would have been rude not to go wouldn’t it? So go we did. On the Sunday and not the Saturday for reasons explained above but Saturday was just perfect weather wise.
Undeterred by the torrential rain the moment we got out of the car, we took shelter with two men dressed as Mario. There were many, many spectators who were dressed up as were the participants who were making their way to the floats. The carnival was meant to start officially at 1.30pm but it was probably about 1.45pm. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all. What I did find surprising was that the floats set off from different parts of the town.
Let me just tell you about all the nitty gritty practicalities. All the main roads to the town are blocked, so you can just simply park up on the main road or like the French do, park on the central reservation. There are buses that will take you into the town centre but to be honest, unless you can’t physically walk very far, I would recommend walking. It took us a maximum of 10 minutes to walk.
I do find this with events and without tarring people with the same brush – a French person’s idea of not being close to an event is so different to mine. It’s the same for Vide Greniers (car boot sales) they will want to park within spitting distance. However, you can just as easily park a street away and you’ll be surprised at how close you are to the action. I always think wow why didn’t they park here there’s so much room? Only a little walk. They don’t want to walk. They want to be right on an event. Which means you’ll always get parked.
Back to the carnival. There’s a great facebook page and other website links which I have listed below. It gives you the timetable of events over the 3 day period and all the usual practical information.
There are lots of street sellers – selling fog horns, confetti, silly string, balloons etc. Lots of frites, sausage in bread rolls and crepes – the usual fare at events. Tabacs, restaurants and boulangeries open all day! So no need to bring a picnic.
We climbed to the top of the town to watch, with only a handful of others, the start of the procession. We thought we’d nailed this carnvial malarkey on our first attempt. Alas this viewing point was only for about 5 floats. At the same time there were more floats setting off from the port. However they all go up the main street, so if you feel yourself darting around, panic not. I would avoid the junction where the tourist office is, as that part is heaving and a bit of squeeze with little ones. But as carnivals go – you have plenty of room to maneuver and it was a great day out. Next year, we’ll be able to plan it better – I understand they have a children’s ball and set fire to a float in the port!
I hope you enjoyed the pictures and if you fancy the carnival next year here are some great links:-
Official Website in French and English
The History Behind The Carnival