OVNi Festival Delights Visitors in LGBTQ-friendly Nice
Located on La Cote d'Azur, the colorful city of Nice is a popular destination along the French Riviera. As you walk the streets, you’ll be surrounded by bright colors, Belle Epoque, Art Deco and Neo-Classical architecture and an outdoor café culture that feels both very Italian and French. Located just 30 kilometers from the Italian border, it’s no surprise there many Italian influencers in this laid-back and friendly French city. In fact, while Nice is only France’s fifth largest city, it has become the second most LGBTQ-friendly destination behind the capital city of Paris.
The warm and friendly nature of the residents along with the social scene, accommodation, nightlife, restaurants and LGBTQ+ events really positions Nice as an excellent place to visit. Rue de Bonaparte is considered the gay neighborhood in Nice, but you’ll find LGBTQ-owned businesses throughout the city.
For the third year in a row, Nice also hosted the OVNi Festival, which collaborated with international artists to exhibit video-art works in hotels, cultural spaces and other unique venues throughout the city. Visitors to the festival had the opportunity to experience the artists’ video works in many locations, but perhaps the most unique element of the event was the ability to visit five hotels, which hosted video and art works in various rooms throughout their properties.
The contemporary art fair Camera Camera took place in the rooms of the Windsor Hotel, which are individually designed by various artists, each with a different vision. Artists on the OVNi Festival were challenged to embrace the rooms’ existing designs and overlay their own work to create a design experience where both artists’ expressions embrace one another.
Other notable venues that hosted video art included the Librarie Vigna, a lesbian-owed bookstore. The bookstore offers both new and used books and also hosts a number of LGBTQ+ and other community events throughout the year. While not intentionally planned to coincide, the OVNi Festival also took place during Nice’s third edition of its fetish festival, Nice So Fetiche. Organizers and attendees of the event gathered at the Librarie Vigna bookstore on the Saturday afternoon of the events to view a collection of queer-themed videos specifically chosen for the bookstore.
Visitors to Nice shouldn’t miss the Promenade de Anglais for a relaxing seaside walk, Castle Hill for an elevated view of the city and the market in Cours Saleya held every morning (except Mondays) for local produce, flowers and antiques. The market is a great place to sample socca (an oven-baked, pizza-style snack made with chickpea flour) and others Nic¸oise food specialties.
The tourism office of Nice collaborates with LGBTQ-owned and friendly businesses and publishes a LGBTQ+ guide to assist visitors in planning their trips. You can also find a listing on their website of LGBTQ-themed events through the year including two LGBTQ+ film festivals (Rencontres In&Out and Zefestival), the Pink Parade (local pride event) and the Dolly Party. During your visit to Nice, you can stop also by the local the tourism office for additional info, located on the seafront just next to the Hard Rock Café.
Photos courtesy of Nice Tourisme and OVNi Festival.