Carnaval de Nice, late February/early March
Les Soirées Estivales, June–September
Bastille Day, July
Nice Jazz Festival, July
Noël à Nice, December
After New Year's festivities settle down, Nice is chillier and quieter than in most other seasons – perfect for museum-going and leisurely dinners in Vieux Nice's cosy restaurants and wine bars.
Acacias bloom in earnest, lemons and oranges appear on trees throughout the region, and Nice's Carnaval goes into full swing, offering a welcome taste of spring – though chilly days (even snow flurries!) are still possible.
Carnaval de Nice
Spanning three weekends and two intervening weeks in late February, Nice's exuberant Carnaval festivities are marked by Corsos Carnavalesques (day and night street parades) and batailles des fleurs (featuring enormous floats covered in flowers). Unlike many other Carnavals, dates don't necessarily precede Ash Wednesday.
With one foot in winter and one in spring, March is an unpredictable month weatherwise, but crowds are tame, allowing delightful opportunities to mingle with the Niçois.
Paris-Nice Bike Race
Shorter than the Tour de France, but almost as fun if you happen to be around for the final two days, this seven-day race brings world-class cycling to Nice.
Festin des Cougourdons
Fancifully decorated cougourdons (gourds) are the focal point at this long-standing springtime festival in the hills of Cimiez.
In April, Nice's weather definitively rounds the corner into spring, and flowers bloom in the surrounding hills. Sunbathers begin to emerge in earnest along the beachfront and in the Promenade des Anglais' famous blue chairs.
Holy Week's highlight is the memorable candlelit procession through the streets of Vieux Nice on Good Friday evening. Starting from Cathédrale Ste-Réparate, solemn marchers file from one station of the cross to the next.
Spring has fully sprung, and the weather is glorious, though hotel prices can be surprisingly steep due to the huge annual influx of tourists for two nearby events: Monaco's Grand Prix and Cannes' film festival.
Lu Festin de Nissa
Food, music and dance animate the hillside park in Cimiez on May Day and again on Sundays throughout the month of May during this highly traditional Niçois festival.
Nuit Européenne des Musées
There's nothing quite like an evening spent strolling the halls of Matisse's villa after nightfall, accompanied by eager art-lovers of all ages. Best of all, it's free – as are several other Nice museums on France's annual museum night.
A beautiful time to visit Nice, June is marked by lovely early-summer beach weather and the beginning of the annual concert season, with live music filling the streets on the summer solstice.
Fête du Château
Parc du Château stays open past dark for rare moonlit views of the Mediterranean and free live music on two nights in late June or early July. Take the free elevator up to the top and join the festivities (sponsored by Nice's Communist party).
The summer season revs into top gear, with sun-seekers filling the beaches, music filling the air and France's national holiday providing a focal point for the festivities.
Nice Jazz Festival
Place Massena and the Théâtre de Verdure are party central for six nights during Nice's premier summer music festival. Despite the name, the 36 concerts (six per night) cover more than just jazz, and ticket prices are surprisingly reasonable.
Known locally as la Fête Nationale or le Quatorze Juillet (never Jour de la Bastille), France's national holiday remains an essential part of Nice's summer calendar, with crowds gathering on the Promenade des Anglais – though the traditional fireworks have been cancelled in recent years.
It feels like half of France is packed sardine-like onto Nice's beachfront during the balmy days of August. If you're after a beach party scene, look no further, but be prepared for soaring prices.
Les Soirées Estivales
Villages throughout the Alpes-Maritimes host this summer series of concerts, which reach their high point during August.
September is a beautiful month along the Côte d'Azur, with warm late-summer weather and a drop-off in tourist numbers adding to the relaxed atmosphere.
Journées Européennes du Patrimone
Numerous churches and monuments that are normally off-limits to the public open their doors for free tours during this wonderful nationwide celebration of France's cultural heritage.
It's wine harvest time in the hills surrounding Nice, while down along the Promenade des Anglais there are still a few good late-season beach days to be enjoyed.
Festa de Santa Reparada
Nice's beloved patron saint, Ste-Réparate – whose body was legendarily carried by angels across the Mediterranean to Nice after her beheading in Palestine – is honored with a folkloric Sunday procession through the streets of Vieux Nice in early October.
Nice glows golden under the waning sunlight, and life slows down to a local's pace as the tourist season hits a low ebb.
Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes
Drawing runners from all over the world, the Alpes-Maritimes' scenic marathon follows the waterfront from Nice to Cannes, with a gruelling climb over Cap d'Antibes just past the midway point.
Winter brings a cosy ambience to Nice, with festive lighting, beautifully decorated shop windows and family-friendly events sponsored by the municipal government.
Noël à Nice
Christmas in Nice is a festive occasion, with the city's squares and palm trees all lit up and an entire Christmas village set up in Jardin Albert 1er. Families bring their kids out for ice skating, carousels, bouncy castles and the giant Ferris wheel.