Europe is shaking off the winter gloom with carnivals in cities across the continent. In symphonies of colour and noise, parades wound through the streets of Wurzburg and Berlin in Germany. Carnival is a centuries-old tradition in Venice and this year record numbers of visitors – around 130,000 – were drawn to the Italian lagoon city. Not to be outdone, the citizens of Nice in southern France put on their own street spectacular. In what is an election year, French politicians seemed an obvious target for lampooning as giant caricatures were carried around the city.