© Drone De Regard

Saint‑Eloi Festival

A colourful parade

The ultimate baroque festival, given its riot of colour, has been a tribute to Tende mule drivers for centuries. The procession sees mules strut their stuff with tassels and mirrors on the heads and beautiful outfits made especially for the event. An extravagant parade brought to life by the spirit of attendees, brass bands and folklore groups. The celebration pays tribute to the principle of helping each other that reigned among the Mule Driver Brotherhood’s ancestors.

Tende mules:

a potted history

The Salt Road has run from Nice to Piedmont since the Middle Ages. The mule path became an essential trading route and made Tende a key location. Bags of salt from the Camargue salt marshes were loaded onto mules’ backs to transport it to Tende where the mounts were swapped for Tende mules, famous for their strength and resilience in the face of tiring long journeys.

Tende mule drivers lived off the regulated transport of people and goods on the Col de Tende road for centuries. The “mountain pass men” managed traffic and got rich from road users with as many as 46,000 mule drivers a year from Nice in the late 17th century!

Did you know?

The Dukes of Savoy then the Kings of Sardinia used mule drivers to transport military equipment and supplies to their troops who were often fighting on either side of Col de Tende.

Saint-Eloi

celebrations

Be part of the Saint Eligius celebrations in Tende! The festival plays out all over the village for two days and brings our four-legged friends together from all over the valley. Children and adults will love a free afternoon performance on Saturday whilst a concert ends the day on a high at Notre-Dame de l’Assomption. In the evening, there’s the Saint Eligius torch blessing followed by fireworks around the castle ruins and a great ball in a marquee.

Roya Valley Access

As you probably know, Storm Alex hit our area hard on 2nd October in 2020. Please note that access to some Roya Valley towns and villages has been seriously affected. To ensure you have a great time, whether at mid or high altitude, we strongly recommend contacting the Tende Tourist Information service prior to your visit: +33 4 83 93 98 82 or tende-tourisme@menton-riviera-merveilles.fr.
Some useful links about footpath access:

Thank you for your attention and we hope you enjoy your time with us.

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