The battles of flowers are among the most graceful and the most famous feasts of Nice and French Riviera.
The first battle of flowers which the Inhabitants of Nice attended, took place during the winter, 1830, on the occasion of the stay in Nice of king Charles - Félix, come to spend the winter in Nice, " to enjoy the sweet sound climate ". he preceded so in the tradition, the sovereigns and the Russian, English, German princes who will stay in Nice.
The custom to throw flowers during the parades of carnival remained during the century.
Alphonse Karr, the poet gardener wished deeply that there are real parades of flowery floats, during the grotesque festival. His widh was fulfilled some decades later.
It is so, that in 1874, the carnavalier Jean Cuggia, author of the float of " the Peace ", - exhausted, with his friends, for a single day of parade, 15 000 bunches of flowers!
In 1876, Andriot Saëtone, created, at instigation of Alphonse Karr and of the Count de Cessole, the first battle of flowers, on the Promenade des Anglais. No doubt, the incidents which spangled the Carnival of 1875, influenced the separation of the grotesque festival in two different parts:
- The grotesque parades with the battles of confettis, took place in Saleya Court, place of the Prefecture and St-Francois de Paule street.
- The elegant parades of cars decorated with flowers with battles of flowers took place on the Promenade des Anglais.
On one side, the popular, unwound festival, and of the other one, the apollinian festival, aesthetic, where marched " the elite " of the society.
The first battle of flowers was a shy attempt, because of the innovation of the chosen place:
- The course respected at first the traditional plan of the Carnival, the place of the Prefecture (with guests' stand) and the Saleya Court, then evolved on the Promenade des Anglais, without any stand and looked like more a walk - exhibition, that in a real " battle of flowers ".
The public became used little by little, to exchange or "to fight" with flowers. All the celebrities of time, participated in the battles of flowers. The other cities of Côte d'Azur followed the example of Nice, and Cannes inaugurated the first battle of flowers in 1898. The example of Nice, also inspired Isabelle, girl of Pedro 11 of Brazil, which organized in Rio the first parade of floats decorated with flowers to celebrate the abolition of the slavery. Nice is also at the origin of the Pasadena's famous flowery parade Tournament of Roses) (USA) which was created in 1890 by Francis Rowland, after he attended the battle of flowers of Nice. It allows better to understand the prestige of this festival of Nice in the Beautiful Time and its international fame. Some mix moreover Carnival and battle of flowers, grotesque parade and flowery parade.
A flowery parade
A parade of battle of flowers includes a parade of completely decorated with flowers floats, and which illustrate allegorical subjects. On every float, appear two to three girls, young people and magnificent models, luxuriously made up and dressed in sparkling suits of feathers, glitter and paste under the expert hand of a dressmaker of big talent, Francis Carol. Nowadays, the battles of flowers look like more a parade where alternate flowery floats and different music groups, brass bands, marching-band, and the charm of which lives to exchange flowers, more than "to fight". In 1993, an important innovation will be tempted, - to present the battles of flowers, place Masséna and avenue de Verdun, instead of the traditional Promenade des Anglais.
A decorated with flowers float measures six metres high, seven metres long, two metres wide, on each of them, two to three girls among about fifty young models, selected players very attentively and who will be luxuriously made up and dressed up by feathers, glitter and paste.
A flowery parade includes about thirty floats decorated with myriads of local flowers, accompanied by several musical, French and foreign groups.
Floats are decorated in read hand, by means of petals of thousand flowers, stuck one by one in the night and the morning which precede every "battle".
Carnations, roses, gladiolas, tokios, gerberas, mimosas, dalhias, liliums, etc…. Are carefully pricked in breads of special mos), keeping the flowers fresh.
For the set of table linen "petals" of a big float, it is necessary to count 80 in 100 boots of carnations of 50 flowers each, that is about 5000 flowers.
By float, one places between 60 in 70 pillows of moss. Each bear) 60 to 65 flowers and foliages. It is necessary to count from 3600 to more than 4000 stalks.