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Fête du Mimosa

In February each year, the streets of Mandelieu-La Napoule on the French Riviera are awash with brilliant yellow flowers to celebrate the Fête du Mimosa or Mimosa Festival.

Some say the mimosa was introduced to France from Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia in the mid 1800s. The colourful tree thrived in sunny southern France and became important to the local economy for decades until disaster stuck in 1929. An unusually cold winter caused temperatures to plummet to -9°C. The trees were frozen and the delicate yellow harvest was destroyed.

Of course, we make ‘em tough in Australia and two years later the trees were back in full force. The town of Mandelieu-le-Napoule decided to celebrate! First taking place in 1931, the Mimosa Festival has since become a much loved, popular annual event on the Côte d’Azur.

From February 15th to 24th, this year, twelve tons of the locally grown fauna will decorate floats and be used to create the festival's elegant atmosphere. There is a full program of activities over the ten days of festivities.

The event starts at the “Notre Dame des Mimosas” with the election of the Reine du Mimosa or Mimosa Queen. On Saturday evenings, fairy tale shows offered by troops of artists on lit floats are at the focus of the festivities. Throw in some marching bands and street performers and you have a colourful pageant to assault the senses. Sunday sees the first Grand Corso fleuri or Great Procession of Floral Floats in the Port of La Napoule. It's an incredible sight: glorious yellow floral floats providing two hours of entertainment. There's a similar line-up the following Saturday and Sunday.

And there's plenty more. You can take a coach trip through Europe's largest mimosa forest, visit a forcing house and go onto Grasse, the Perfume Town, to visit a perfumery to learn how they use mimosa to make divine fragrances. There are walks into the mimosa forest and walks in La Napoule including a visit to the Château de La Napoule, one of France's ‘Remarkable Gardens’.

This is a festival for everyone and children love it, the bright colours, the joyful atmosphere – its impossible not to be happy at this event and to feel that spring is just around the corner.

As you can see, mimosa is obviously big business. Of the French national production of 18 million mimosa stems, 11 million are produced in the Alpes-Maritimes region and 6 million in the municipalities of Mandelieu La Napoule and Pégomas.

Situated at the edge of the Mediterranean, at the gates of Cannes, between the Esterel massif and the woodlands of the Tanneron, Mandelieu-La-Napoule is proud of its history and its heritage. If you're in the area around February, they would love you to join with them to honour the importance of this tree to the local economy .. and of course, to have some fun at their Mimosa Festival.

 

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