Citrus Lovers Prepare for Two Fruity Festivals in February
Citrus takes center stage at two very different festivals in France and Italy this February. Take your pick from medieval food fights to light filled festivals.
While some countries are still battling blizzards and sub-zero temperatures, in other warmer climes around the world February signals the end of the winter.
So if you're looking to escape to some spring soaked celebrations pack your bags and head to the South of France or Northern Italy for two vibrant citrus packed festivals of a very different nature.
Take your pick between the colourful citrus studded street celebrations of Menton or the medieval orange lobbing in northern Italy.
Have a look at what each festival has in store:
Ivrea Orange Festival, Italy
Each February sees the tiny northern city of Ivrea in northern italy stockpile 500 tons of fresh oranges in preparation for the three days Battaglia delle Arance (Battle of the oranges) between the 6th and the 9th.
Unlike the Tomatina tomato fight in Spain this is a not a back packer's chance to get stuck in like a local, but serious orchestrated theatre drawing on ancient traditions in which only seasoned professionals can engage.
A historic fight between townsfolk and a ruling tyrant is re-enacted whilst teams wage a full-on fruit war and by standers prepare to get juiced.
Get a taste of the battle that lies ahead and be grateful you won't be the one waking up with orange sized bruises:
What Carnevale di Ivrea When February 6 - February 9, 2016 Where Ivrea, Piedmonte, Italy Web Website
Fête du Citron
For those in search of a more sophisticated citrus event head to the seductive French Riviera town of Menton, half way between Paris and Rome, for the 83rd Fete du Citron, from February 13 to March 2.
Around 160,000 visitors will descend on the town to say 'farewell to winter' and take in the annual spectacle of stunning giant orange and lemon creations built from 145 tonnes of fruit depicting everything from giant geishas to sea creatures.
Every year the festival has a different theme - previous events have been based on the Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, and Disney characters.
Each Sunday morning for the duration of the festival, the "Corso des fruits d'or" (Golden Fruit Procession) parade takes place through the streets of the town. It attracts between 25,000 and 30,000 spectators – the equivalent of the entire population of Menton so be sure to book ahead to secure yourself a place.
Swing by the website to check out the programme and pick up tickets.
What Fête du Citron When February 13 to March 2, 2016 Where Menton, France Web: Fete du Citron