Spring time in Provence holds many joys but I think Carnaval would be our kids' favourite.
All the large towns hold one and we ventured in to Aix-en-Provence to enjoy their version in early April. We arrived about half an hour early to find a nice spot on the Cours Mirabeau, electing to camp on the grass around the Rotonde fountain at the head of the street.
As the crowds continued to build the hawkers made a good turn-over on balloons, confetti and cans of silly string.
The kids all get into the spirit and come dressed in costumes.
When all the best vantage points were taken the fountain itself became a viewing platform, probably the only time of the year the police turn a blind eye to such shenanigans.
"Nice hat, Bill" "Thanks, Frank"
The parade was late getting started and the natives got a little restless:
But finally the strains of the band could be heard and the floats began to inch their way down the Cours toward the fountain.
The theme for Aix's 2011 parade was Tim Burton's films and here are a few of the floats they inspired:
Alice in Wonderland
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The parade came to a halt around the fountain (another good reason to camp out there) but the band continued to play and several characters disembarked to interact with the crowd.
These guys below look like they're carrying some kind of Ninja Turtle shell on their backs - they turned out to be fan-propelled streamer shooters. Awesome!
So glad I didn't have to clean it all up.
This strange contraption housed a sort of trapeze act:
Untraditional Scotsman was wearing underwear beneath his kilt. Spoilsport.
But the ladies were still suitably impressed:
Eventually the crowds dispersed and the clean-up crew was left to tackle everything left behind.
Carnage on the Cours
We only had the three kids back then and they all had confetti in their underwear at the end of the day, which we all know is the definition of having had a good time. I know that's how I rate my night out the next morning. "I can't remember a thing but it must've been good because there's confetti in my undies."
I really like finding forgotten Spring photos in the middle of winter. Gives you a mid-season reminder to keep holding on; it will be warm again soon(ish).
In the meantime we're embracing winter and heading to the Italian Alps on Friday for a week in the snow. I'll try to squeeze in another post before then and if I'm really clever I'll rig one to post while I'm away. Man, these Internets sure are nifty.
Hope you're all having a great week!