Carnaval de Dunkerque 2010


As the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region begins to shake off its wintry stranglehold, France’s epic Carnaval de Dunkerque is already underway. Dunkerque is a small city in the North of France, right along the Belgian border. The festivities are a longstanding tradition whose roots trace back hundreds of years to Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday was a day of celebration and feasting before the coastal town’s fishermen set off to sea.

Today the celebration is spread out over 6 weeks. The city comes alive with free concerts and DJs in the town square. The comprehensive list of balls, spread out over the weekends, are sure to have carnival goers boogying into the wee hours of the morning. The entire experience is capped off with a grand parade, traditionally led by a costumed giant called Reuze Papa. Many cities in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region have their own giant that marches in the procession. The streets of Dunkerque are packed, as men march wearing women’s dresses, women march in their ball gowns, and marching bands and other masked revelers make their way through the city.

The official dates of the event are January 23rd to March 6th, but pre-carnaval festivities have been going on around the city since January 10th. Scrawny Frenchmen in drag have been a regular sight for weeks! The procession and other outdoor events are free, so travellers to this area can enjoy the best of this amazing celebration at no cost. Ticket prices to the themed balls vary each weekend.

As someone who has found herself caught up in the endless revelry that depicts the local carnivals in Northern France, this is surely an event that is not to be missed. The carnival’s official website can be found (in French) here.

Posted by | Comments Off on Carnaval de Dunkerque 2010  | January 25, 2010
Category: General

Comments are closed.