Here is your official guide for getting out of the city of Lille to the Dunkirk Carnival! But you cannot go alone, so grab your fellow colivers from Urban Campus Lille Saint So’ Coliving and get ready for this unforgettable event.

Every year, the small town of Dunkirk in Northern France comes to life with a vibrant and colorful carnival. The Dunkirk Carnival, also known as the Carnaval de Dunkerque, one of France’s craziest and oldest festivals. This year, the carnival will take place from February 18th until February 26th, 2023.

History of the Dunkirk Carnival 

The Dunkirk Carnival has rich cultural tradition, dating back to the 16th century. It was originally a celebration that marked the end of the winter season and the arrival of spring. Over the years, the carnival has evolved into a vibrant event that showcases the cultural heritage and traditions of the town. Today, the carnival is an integral part of Dunkirk’s identity and is celebrated with great pride and passion.

What will there be?

There are plenty of things for you to enjoy throughout your day-trip or weekend getaway to Dunkirk. From the colorful parade of floats and costumes to the live music performances featuring international artists, people dancing on the streets – you will see it all. And, of course, no carnival is complete without delicious food, with a variety of street vendors serving up traditional carnival meals. 

The Highlights

One of the main highlights of the Dunkirk Carnival is the parade of floats and costumes. It is a truly incredible experience to see, let alone to be a part of! You will find yourself in a sea of colours while staring at an array of intricate and elaborate costumes. Speaking of sea…if you do not like fish we recommend you step far away from the Belfry’s balcony around 17h. The mayor will be there throwing almost 500 kg of herring into the crowd and then the real battle begins…

Throughout the day, far into the night, you will be immersed in the chaos of the city. With music and drinks flowing and a wave of umbrellas in the air – be ready to live it!

How to get to the Carnival 

Now that you know everything there is about the Dunkirk Carnival, it is time to grab your fellow colivers in Lille and head to the festival! When taking the TER, it is a relatively short train ride, approximately 1 hour and 8 minutes only, or if you have a car only a 58-minute drive. 

It is your time to get dressed up, take it all in and most of all ENJOY IT!


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Renata Primorac


Renata is our Social Media and Content Manager.