If you haven't been to Eze, it's time it was on your list.
One of my absolute favourite places to visit when I stay in Villefranche sur Mer is the perched hilltop village of Eze. This beautiful village dates back to the middle ages and clings impressively to the mountainside above the Mediterranean Sea, between St Jean Cap Ferrat and Monaco. Panoramic views, ancient façades, and an unbelievable attention to detail are some of the most memorable features of this lovely village.
DRIVE THE MOYENNE CORNICHE AND EXPERIENCE AMAZING VIEWS
The first time I visited Eze, I arrived on the bus from Villefranche, having been treated to exceptional views of the magnificent coastline of the Côte d’Azur as the Moyenne Corniche winds around the rocky outcrops above St Jean Cap Ferrat, Beaulieu sûr Mer, and Eze sûr Mer.
This is worth the trip alone.
It is literally like something out of a movie, and sets the scene for the extraordinary experience about to come. I actually recommend the bus, because it can be tricky to find a carpark near Eze (go early) plus you won’t miss the view because, happily, you’re not at the wheel.
Unless, of course, you can find some uber-cute guy with a sports car to get you there … One day I'll do that drive in a convertible - with a reliable *someone else* at the wheel. X
MEDIEVAL ARCHITECTURE AND GORGEOUS DETAILS GIVE EZE ITS UNIVERSAL APPEAL
Walk up from the bus stop in Eze. Even if you drive, it's obvious where you need to pull over and park your car. Cross the street, up past some lovely shops, a delightful refreshment spot, as well as the Tourist Information Centre.
Up the steps, dear. It is a bit of a climb. (Note: terrain includes steps and ancient cobblestones, remarkably well-laid, but do wear comfortable shoes).
Immediately, the architecture is enthralling. Centuries-old stonework is set off beautifully by sublime detailing. Exquisite wrought-iron street lamps hang everywhere, pastel shutters gleam in the morning sunshine, and hints of history abound - in carvings, plaques, and dedications to characters from the past.
There are no cars allowed within the precinct, so – especially if you get there early – the silence is tangible. Only the sea at times, a bird, footfalls...the sound of yourself moving through a sacred space.
What bliss it is to stroll quietly along the slender passages, musing over the lives of the lucky people who dwell in this precious place. There is something extraordinary to see at every turn, some delightful detail to inspire the creative mind, like stepping back into a (beautifully cared-for) historical timeline.
If you are a shopper, you won’t be disappointed with Eze.
The shops and galleries in Eze offer beautiful, quality goods to tempt you. Art, clothing, homewares, and ateliers are dotted along the winding streets amongst closed doors - which lead to other, private lives. Colourful displays, delightful windows, and desirable things call you into the unique shops, some of which are hidden in tiny basements within the extraordinary buildings. There is so much history here...
I'm not a shopper. I was born in Scotland but have lived most of my life in Australia. Je suis né en Ecosse mais j'ai vécu la plus grande partie de ma vie en Australie. At least, I think that's how it goes. Makes me inclined to being a bit frugal 🙂
In my soul, however, I am a Francophile.
I love to take the opportunity to comb through my possessions and simplify more. I love to let things go.
Intentional living, with a touch of cashmere.
> more about me <
ENJOY INCREDIBLE VIEWS FROM THE CHATEAU EZA
I visited the Château Éza, an outstanding 5-star hotel in Eze, offering only 14 rooms and suites, many of which have private balconies with spectacular views of the Mediterranean for your personal enjoyment. In particular, there is a beautiful terrace where mere mortals (like you and I) can go and enjoy coffee, croissants, lunch, or a superb dinner in their divine restaurant.
Be prepared with your credit card, however. Coffee and croissants cost me €18. The coffee is reasonable (as a fussy latte drinker myself), but les petits croissants were superbe, too many for me, several different types.
And, it's all about the view. Because you're worth it. X
EXPERIENCE THE WONDER OF THE JARDIN EXOTIQUE
Literally the pinnacle of the Eze experience is Le Jardin Exotique, located at the very top of the village in the ruins of the original castle walls.
The chateau dates back to the 12th century, however local people (the Èzasques) have occupied this area since 220BC. The gardens showcase a wonderful variety of exotic succulents and xerophytes from around the world, as well as a variety of local species. Enjoy the most stunning views you’ll see anywhere on the coast and experience the serenity and beautiful sculptures as you meander along the pathways. Just beautiful!
Comme toujours, my advice is to go early.
I like to arrive very early (haven’t made it at sunrise yet, but – oh! – what a spectacle that would be). Everyone else starts arriving at 10:30, and you will be tout seul no more…
HOW TO GET THERE
There are two bus routes from Nice to Eze. No.112 and No.82, though on Sundays and holidays only the No.82 runs on a very limited schedule. Don't catch the No. 100 - which goes to Èze sûr Mer - unles you fancy a hike up the mountainside.
Le Jardin Exotique is open:
January, February, March, November, December: from 9am to 4.30pm
April, May, June, October: from 9am to 6.30pm
July, August, September: from 9am to 7.30pm
Admission is between €4 - €6, depending upon the time of year, with group discounts available. Children under 12 are free.
Stay in the *heart* of Villefranche sûr Mer. Discover the Côte d'Azur: the hilltop village of Èze, over-the-top Monaco, gentle Antibes and rocking Juan les Pins, vieux Nice, and more. Swim at Beaulieu sur Mer, visit Villa et Jardins de Rothschild and the divine Villa Kerylos.
Go touring and experience those fabulous Mediterranean views, and have lunch in Italy. Breakfast at the celebrated Welcome Hotel, dine by the harbour, and relax in a beautiful apartment in the old town.
Oh, and the restaurants, and shopping..!