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Lou Queernaval, France’s first queer carnival, is back and gayer than ever

Lou Queernaval, France’s first queer carnival, is back and gayer than ever

Nice Lou Queernval

France’s first ever queer carnival, Lou Queernaval, is returning to Nice two years after leaving a rainbow shaped hole in our lives.

The festival is part of the world-famous Nice Carnival, a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. But while the heteros dominate the streets for most of the three day festivities, the real fun comes on Sunday 24 February when the carnival gets an LGBTI twist.

Originally debuting in 2015, Lou Queernaval is held in the Place Massena, transforming the area into one giant dance floor.

Lou Queernaval Nice France queer festival
Photo: Stephan Bare
Lou Queernaval nice france lgbt festival
Photo: Guillaume Eymard

While there’s no parade, they have a dramatic mobile stage. Expect fabulous creatures, spectacular costumes and artists’ troops, alongside stunning drag queens, live singers, and the hottest gogo dancers around.

Also, the extravaganza will be blessed with the Godmothers of Lou Queernaval: comedian Mado the Niçoise and dance house duo Sister Queen.

The Queernaval is a celebration of love and fun, inviting everyone from the LGBTI community and beyond. Families of all kinds are welcome as well as fun-loving party goers, with between 10,000 and 15,000 people attending in 2015 and 2016.

Lou Queernaval France first gay carnival
Photo: Guillaume Eymard
Lou Queernaval Nice France gay festival
Photo: Guillaume Eymard

The original carnival celebrations were authorized by the Catholic church as a pre-lent blow-out. For centuries it gave the citizens of Nice the chance to don masks, feast on delicious foods and drink wine in a celebration of indulgence. Performers often used it as an opportunity to challenge authorities without fear of consequences.

Which is something the LGBTI community has been doing for years. So you might as well take up that noble tradition by the sapphire seas of the French Riviera.

Lou Queernaval will be held at Massena, Nice, France on 24 February. A contribution to expenses for adults is asked at 5 Euros ($5.67). It is free for children under 12 and people with a disability card. 

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