The King of Carnivals

We are offering 20% off all remaining accommodation!
Win 2 tickets to The Carnival de Nice!

Finally, the longest month EVER is over! Bye January, see you next year! Welcome fun February!

Now I know what you’re thinking, what’s February got to offer?  Well I have the remedy to cure those blues… It involves awash of colours, big heads, fireworks, countless amounts of flowers and an unforgettable atmosphere, I could go on but I know you’re already sold.


It’s The Carnival de Nice! An annual festival taking place 17th of February – 3rd of March on the French Rivera that brings in a million visitors from across the globe!

The Nice Carnival is 6 carnival parades, by day or by night, made up of 17 floats and more than 1000 dancers and musicians from all over the world to make you live this authentic and magical event!

Each year the carnival holds a theme and this year it’s the King of Space! Past themes have been, King of Music, King of Energy and King of Gastronomy.

To celebrate this epic event we held a series of interviews with The creatives who make it all happen!


Meet Chad Crowe, an illustrator, cartoonist and designer of floats for The Carnival de Nice. Since 2005 Chad has designed over 20 floats!

  1. The theme for this year’s Carnival is King of Space. How do you start your creative journey when given a subject? How long does it take to form an idea and design a float? 

A good, and difficult, question to answer, as the process tends to vary, depending if I’m struck by an inspiring idea or have to go dig one up. It usually starts with cramming your mind with input about the particular theme: researching all the individuals, discoveries, events, etc. that are connected. The second step is to actively brainstorm all the possible ideas you might have from the research you’ve done, and see what connections you can make, how it might relate to modern life or contemporary politics, etc. and not be too self-editing. Then, take a break and let it sit for a week or so, as your mind tends to start filtering out the ideas and symbols that seem to matter (without stress of an immediate deadline). Then it’s time for the actual drawing and creation, and during the process you might find new props, perspectives or humorous elements to add as your pencil is actually working on the page. Then, you mail them out and have to forget all about them for a few months until you learn if any have been chosen - but of course you can’t forget them because you really want them to be turned into amazing floats and have yet another justifiable excuse to return to Nice

Regarding the contest, there is usually about a month in which to work on the ideas for submission. The first two I usually spend researching/contemplating, and the last two weeks drawing. For the creation of the floats, I think they manage to do them within 3-5 months. Impressive given the amount of floats, size and incredible detail. The Carnavaliers are amazing craftsmen.

  1. We are loving the Rocket Brexit float designed by you Chad. It really reflects how many of us feel in the UK at the moment! Do you feel the carnival floats can be more than just a bit of fun and can really be a great platform to put some interesting views out there? 

 So glad you enjoy the Brexit rocket! I think the carnival floats are a really wonderful vehicle for expressing opinion, and releasing some tension, on the political and social issues we are all faced with. In the middle ages it was an accepted steam valve for the lower classes to express their anger and frustrations with the King and monarchy for a short period of time- and identities hidden behind masks and costumes (and of course also fitting with the Catholic tradition of Lent). Even though things have changed a great deal since the middle ages, this tradition is still mocking the powers and policies that affect us in an increasingly globalized world - whether those structures are Trump, Brexit and the EU, or the fast food industry, climate change or human rights. And it’s all done in a spirit of humour. Of course, the floats could just be non-political, for light-hearted entertainment too, which is a worthy goal in itself. France, and many democracies, show a strong toleration, and support, for satire, intellectual freedom and individual expression. The carnival is another way of showing they culturally uphold these values - and they also want to have a good time.

  1. 1873 was when Carnival de Nice started, if you could choose one theme to go back and design, which one would it be and why? 

What a great opportunity that would be! I can’t seem to find a list of all the carnival themes since 1873, so have no idea. I would have enjoyed working with the artist G.A. Mossa, as his drawings and creations were outstanding. And designing a float that might have been seen by Queen Victoria would have been incredible (possibly a giant caricature of her secret lover, John Brown, dressed up in Highland gear and playing the bagpipes?). I’ve noticed that the theme “The King of Madness” tends to be cursed, but that theme would be perfect for contemporary times.

  1. You’ve been designing floats for the Carnival de Nice since 2005, what makes The Nice carnival special to you? 

It’s hard to put into words, and perhaps more of a feeling. Although I can’t speak French, in art history classes my favourite artists tended to be French: Honore Daumier, Tolouse Lautrec, Gustav Dore - they put their traditional artistic skills in the service of drawing the real life in the streets, and to the comic and the absurd. Nice seems to represent this devotion to the arts, by the numerous artists naturally drawn to the area for the climate, but also for the freedom and lightheartedness - it is dedicated to the arts, but also to playfulness, humour and the good things in life - not taking itself too seriously. And it’s located in a jaw-dropping landscape, surrounded by a beautiful bay and filled with amazing architecture, history, cafes, restaurants and markets - I wonder how it’s possible for anyone to not enjoy this city. For the good luck to have been included in the contest and have a connection to such a unique place that celebrates art, satire and the good life is a dream come true.

  1. What is your favourite float you have ever created? And why? 

 This is a difficult one - they all feel like children.  Perhaps the float of Gerard Depardieu as Gargantua sitting on a pile of gold coins as Putin feeds him from a silver spoon. Mr. Depardieu actually happened to show up at the carnival that year, and had no idea that there was a float of him parading around - an absolute shock for him and me! He was a great sport about it, and visited the carnival warehouse to autograph the spoon the next day. I also like the King of Greek Loans, and the giant cyclops begging for Euros from a German banker.

  1. What happens to the floats at the end of each carnival? We have visions of them being stored away like the Ark in Raiders of the Lost Ark! Or are they preserved? 

 Great vision! Perhaps thousands of years from now they will discover the giant lost ark of carnival floats? I have no idea what happens to them. Would love to get one for our house or backyard one day!

  1. Describe the atmosphere of the Nice Carnival for you in 3 words? 

Festive. Artistic. Playfully Rebellious.


Don’t forget to book with STAY YNA! 20% off all remaining accommodation!  Going fast!

And enter our CARNVIAL COMPETITION! Win 2 tickets to The Carnival de Nice!


Email KING OF SPACE to [email protected]

Winner will be announced will be announced 15/02/18

Terms and conditions apply. GOOD LUCK!

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