The world-renowned Rio de Janeiro carnival parades drew to a close in traditionally spectacular fashion on Monday night, as the city was transformed into an explosion of noise, colour and scantily clad beauties. Joining in the fun from her vantage point in the stands was Charlie's Angels star Lucy Liu - whose gleeful reaction to the carnival fun spoke volumes.

Clapping her hands in appreciation, Lucy was just one of the hundreds of thousands of revellers who travelled from all over the planet to join the world's biggest party on the streets of the Brazilian city. Also indulging in the festivities were Italian beauty Monica Bellucci and her French husband, Ocean's Twelve star Vincent Cassel, who watched the parade of kaleidoscopic floats from the Sambodromo - a purpose-built parade area in downtown Rio.

The pre-Lent festivities are the culmination of a five-day celebration, where samba schools compete to be named better and more imaginative than their rivals. This year, six schools were fighting it out, and the floats they'd designed were as vibrant as ever - paying tribute to Brazil's history, culture and natural beauty. As always, dancing until dawn was compulsory and all-night beach parties rounded off the action on the famous sands of Ipanema.

Photo: ©
The Charlie's Angels star was clearly enjoying the world-famous carnival festivities which mark the end of the pre-Lent holiday in BrazilPhoto: © Rex Click on photos for gallery
Photo: ©
At this year's Rio parade the floats were as showy as ever, as six samba schools competed to be named the most imaginativePhoto: © AFP