Come and party at the Dunkirk Carnival!

Carnaval de Dunkerque @CUD
Carnaval de Dunkerque @CUD


After three disrupted or cancelled editions, the Dunkirk Carnival is back with a bang. Its origins date back to the 17th century, when a big party was organised to mark the departure of sailors for Iceland and Canada, where they went to fish for cod for many months. Today, the Carnival remains a festive gathering that attracts thousands of people.

A busy programme

It must be said that this carnival, in keeping with its origins, lasts almost three months! This year's official dates are from 8 January to 16 April 2023. During this period, you are invited to come and celebrate the carnival with balls and concerts organised throughout the city at weekends and also during the school holidays. Bands and orchestras entertain the streets every Sunday afternoon.

The week of Shrove Tuesday (20-26 February) is the highlight of the festivities with grandiose and colourful parades. A band accompanies the carnival people dressed as fishermen. Afterwards, the crowds gather to receive the 450 kilos of herrings thrown from the balconies of the Town Hall!

The events not to be missed during this period will be

- Uncle Cô's Ball on Saturday 18 February

- Dunkerque Band and Acharnés Ball on Sunday 19 February

- Citadel Band on Monday 20 February

- Rosendaël Band on Tuesday 21 February

- Gigolos and Gigolettes Ball on Saturday 25 February

- Band of Malo-les-Bains and the Violet Ball on Sunday 26 February

Admission to the dances is not free, you can buy your tickets in advance at the shops in Dunkirk.

There are also free buses available late at night after the party.

Are there any campsites open for the Dunkirk Carnival?

Several campsites are open around Dunkerque during the Carnival, here is a selection: The Municipal des Dunes campsite**** in Bray-Dunes is located 100 metres from the sea and has 580 pitches. The Pins campsite **** in Ghyvelde is located 12 km from Dunkerque and offers 17 rentals and 150 pitches. There is an indoor swimming pool and a jacuzzi and the campsite organises evening entertainment and shows during the holidays. Finally, the Vauban ** campsite in Bergues has direct access to the beach and offers mobile homes and pitches.


Plage de Dunkerque
Plage de Dunkerque© IStock




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