To visit Eze Village on the French Riviera is to discover a little piece of paradise perched on a hill, a stone’s throw from Nice, facing the Mediterranean Sea.
Eze is one of the places of my childhood that deeply marked me and where I came back later with the same emotion. Narrow streets lined with dry stone buildings, a location perched on a hill facing the sea – which gave the village its nickname of “eagle’s nest” -, a view that expresses all the charm of Provence, unfolding the turquoise carpet of the Mediterranean before your eyes.
Curious to learn more? Let’s go for a visit!
- Where is Eze Village located ?
- Things to do in Eze Village
- Where to stay and where to eat in Eze?
- How to get to Eze Village ?
- Where to get the best views of Eze Village?
Where is Eze Village located ?
Eze is a curious “two-story village” in the south of France, built on a hillside, with one part at sea level (Eze-sur-Mer), at the water’s edge, with a pebble beach… and one part at the top of the hill, at 1400 feet above sea level (Eze Village). The two districts are of course connected by the road but also by a very popular hiking trail, the Nietzsche trail.
The village is said to have existed for over 1500 years. Although it may seem isolated, perched on its hill, it is actually only 6 miles from Nice, 4 miles from Monaco and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
Here is Eze on a map:
If you are going to Eze soon, you can find the local weather here.
Things to do in Eze Village
Explore the small streets at random
Eze Village is a labyrinth of small streets, very picturesque and green, dotted with art galleries and artists’ studios such as Flow, La Galery or Floriane Maels’ studio.
When you walk through these streets, you really feel that they have a soul, especially when you visit the place out of season and when there are not too many tourists. I really like this atmosphere which breathes Provence in what it has of more typical: the softness of living, the taste of the beautiful things… Of course, in high season, like many charming villages, Eze is sometimes a little too crowded!
Historians tell us that at the beginning of our era, it was a fortified agricultural village, crossed by a large street on both sides of which were stone houses. On the first floor, grapes or olives were pressed to make wine or oil.
In the Middle Ages, the town developed a close link with the Riquier family, an extremely powerful family in the Nice region. Even today, if you walk along the streets, you will come across the entrance of the old Riquier residence.
The botanical garden, jewel of Eze Village
A walk in Old Eze is a real pleasure… but the town also offers another magical place not to be missed: the exotic garden! It is a botanical garden that overlooks the Mediterranean and offers a view of the French Riviera.
On the site of the current exotic garden there was once a medieval castle, destroyed by order of King Louis XIV. At the end of the 19th century, the ruins of the castle began to attract visitors passing through the region, who stopped to enjoy the exceptional view of the Mediterranean. But it was not until after the Second World War that the mayor of the time, André Gianton, had the idea of creating a botanical garden at this location. He called upon the landscape architect Jean Gastaud and the project was born.
On a clear day, you can see Corsica and the panorama extends from Italy to St Tropez. The garden itself has many varieties of cacti and succulents (called that way not because they are delicious but because they are “full of juice”).
In 2004, the Exotic Garden of Eze Village was completely reorganized around “thematic paths”: in addition to the plants, there are also 15 earthen sculptures accompanied by a few verses that invite poetic meditation. They are signed Jean-Philippe Richard. Misters also allow you to cool down in summer.
There are benches, you can observe the ruins of the old castle of Eze.
Photo enthusiasts can really enjoy themselves and the atmosphere offers a nice change of scene. I really enjoyed coming back there with my boyfriend after having known the garden with my parents when I was little. And the lady at the reception predicted it: “You’ll come back when you have children”. You have to share this kind of place with the people you love ;)
You can check the rates and opening hours of the Exotic Garden on the website of the Tourist Office.
In general, the garden is open :
- From December to March: from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm ;
- From April to June: from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm ;
- From July to September: from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm;
- In October: from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm.
The village church
The church of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption is classified as a Historic Monument. Neoclassical in style with a baroque interior, it was built in the 18th century by the architect Antoine Spinelli (the same one who would have signed the final design of the Garibaldi square in Nice).
In the past, its bell tower had a cupola but it disappeared in a storm, struck by lightning.
Visit the perfumeries
You can visit two perfumeries: the Galimard house, which is located on the Charles de Gaulle square in Eze Village, and the Fragonard perfumery which has a store on the Charles de Gaulle square and a “laboratory factory” at 158, avenue de Verdun, which is very interesting to visit.
Discover the rest of the village
You can also visit the rest of the village, with the pebble beach by the sea, the Silva Maris harbor, the Fort de la Revère and the Grande Corniche Park, which I’ll talk about a little further down!
Where to stay and where to eat in Eze?
It is possible to stay in the heart of Eze Village if you have a good budget, there are several incredibly romantic hotels offering high quality services.
Let’s first mention Château Eza (5 stars), which offers a sublime view, a very warm welcome and a high quality gastronomic restaurant.
Let’s also mention the hotel Le Château de la Chèvre d’Or whose garden (below) is a little jewel and which has a swimming pool facing the sea…
If you can’t afford to stay in the village itself, you can take a look at the aparthotel “La Perle d’Eze” which is only a few minutes walk away and has a nice pool.
As for restaurants, to eat in the village itself, you can go to the Nid d’Aigle (1 rue du Château) which serves local products, to the Taverne d’Antan for a tasty Italian cuisine served in a cellar dating back to medieval times (6 rue Plane). The restaurant “Les Remparts” (rue du Barri) is also pleasant and refined.
For a quick bite to eat, try the Deli at 5, rue du Château (in the village) or, by the sea, “La Vieille Maison” (18 avenue de la Liberté, near the train station) which does not look like much but where you can eat relatively well.
How to get to Eze Village ?
How to get to Eze by car
Eze is quite easy to get to by car, by taking the Moyenne Corniche (D6007), direction Eze-Village (not to be confused with Eze-sur-Mer, the part of the commune located on the Mediterranean coast).
There are several parking lots where you can leave your car as the village itself is pedestrianized. They are located at Place du Général de Gaulle and Place Fighiera.
Public transportation to Eze Village
You can visit Eze by arriving by train, at the seaside, and then walking up from the station to the village by the Nietzsche path.
You can also choose to take the bus: line 82 runs from Nice to Eze and line 83 runs from Beaulieu-sur-Mer to Eze. Maps and schedules are available on the Lignes d’Azur website.
Cabs are also available and can be ordered from the Tourist Office at the exit of the village.
Visit Eze with a guide
If you are unable to visit Eze on your own, there are excursions to discover the village.
- A full day on the French Riviera with discovery of Eze (including the Fragonard perfumery) but also of Monaco, Antibes, Saint Paul de Vence and Cannes.
- A half-day dedicated to Eze and Monaco, including the visit of the Fragonard perfumery.
- A half-day tour of Eze and Monaco proposed by another quality provider, if you wish to compare prices and dates that suit you!
Where to get the best views of Eze Village?
If you want to prolong the pleasure and enjoy a splendid view of Eze and the Mediterranean coast, the most beautiful panorama is probably that of the Fort de la Revère, at an altitude of 696 meters.
This building, also called Fort Anselme, was built at the end of the 19th century to participate in the protection of the Nice region as part of a vast network of fortifications. During the Second World War, it was temporarily used as a prison under the Vichy regime, before being recovered after the war by the Air Force.
Today, the fort is located in the heart of the Grande Corniche Park and there is an orientation table with an incredible view of the French Riviera. You can get there either by car (there is a parking lot) or by hiking with a loop of about 4.3 miles starting from La Turbie. The paths are very well maintained and well marked, you can see the Alps during the walk.
The only drawback is that you can hear the A8 freeway on a part of the route… but honestly, it’s not enough to spoil the experience!
As for the fort, it is sometimes open to visitors, for example during the Heritage Days.
Another nice but less spectacular point of view: the Mont Bastide. It is easily accessible by walking. When you leave Eze Village by the Moyenne Corniche, you pass on a viaduct. At the end of the point on the right, there is a discreet hiking trail that goes up to the Mont Bastide. There too, a beautiful panorama on the sea and on Eze!
I hope this article will make you want to explore this little nugget of the French Riviera!