Eze is a small medieval village famous for its charm, beauty and its view of the Mediterranean Sea from its hilltop. Its history dates back to 220 BC when a small tribe chose this rocky foreland for its protection and some parts of those protective walls can be still found around the village. The locals, the Ezasques, built their houses in the protective shadow of the mountaintop away from access routes. The fortress was built in 12th century by the Lords of Eze, then guarded by Counts of Provence and later the Dukes of Savoy. In 1706, during the Spanish Wars, Louis XIV ordered the destruction of the fortress castle that belonged to the enemy Dukes of Savoy in order to prevent it ever being a threat again to the French.
Packed with visitors and lined with expensive gift shops, galleries and restaurants however the original buildings, narrow streets and archways are very well restored and still somehow do not fail to remind us of its medieval past. In fact, 80% of the castle city consists of the famous La Chèvre D’Or Hotel and remaining 20% of galleries and restaurants.
How To Get There
If not driving, the only way to get to Eze Village is by bus. Don’t get mixed up between Eze and Eze-sur-Mer. Eze is a hilltop village and Eze-sur-Mer is a coastal town.
From Nice, take Bus 82 / 112 to Eze. It goes from the bus station called Vauban (16 Avenue des Diables Bleus, 06300 Nice). If you want to get there faster, hop on the tram going in the direction of Hopital Pasteur and get out at the stop called Vauban. Walk around the large car park called Park Azur and enter the bus station from the back of the car park.
Your other option is to take a bus from the village of Beaulieu at the bus stop Plage, Bus Number 83.
The ticket costs €1.50 and you can use your bus passes. The trip takes only about 20 minutes.
Thankfully not all of Eze has been turned into a tourist trap. Look for a sign for Eglise (church) that leads to a small square with a pretty church dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. Rebuilt between 1764 – 1778, the beautiful Baroque style decoration of the interior will certainly bring you back in time. There is a small peaceful cemetery on the other side of the square.
Exotic Gardens of Eze
Rue du Château, 06360 Eze, Tel: +33 (0)4 9341 1030
January, February, March, November, December: from 9.00 – 16.30
April, May, June, October: from 9.00 – 18.30
July, August, September: from 9am – 19.30
Adult €6 (€4 between December and April), children under 12 years old free. Dogs are allowed on the leash.
This harmonious environment made of walking paths lined with exotic succulent plants and xerophytes from all the continents, ruins of the original castle, waterfalls, relaxation terrace with deckchairs creates a magical garden in the sky, perched at 429m above the Mediterranean Sea. The panorama from the gardens offers one of the most spectacular views of the French Riviera extending all the way to the Esterel Mountains and the Gulf of Saint Tropez.
There are 14 elegant clay goddess statues in total, strategically placed at the most beautiful viewing points and every one of them has a name and a little poem dedicated to her.
Located at the bottom of the hill of Eze Village, the Parfumerie Fragonard offers free guided tours where you can learn the basics about the process of perfume making, the ingredients that are used and the origins of Fragonard. The guided walks run every 30 minutes (between November and January there is a break between noon and 14.00).
There is a factory shop where you can purchase gorgeous perfumes, soaps and cosmetics, great gift ideas for you or your loved ones. It is a great option if you do not plan to visit Grasse, the capital of Perfumery.
Nietzsche’s trail brings you from Eze Village to Eze-sur-Mer. The trail is named after the German philosopher who lived in Eze in the late 19th century. The path is well posted as Chemin Nietzsche starting at the entrance to the village of Eze. The walk takes up to an hour and offers great scenery and a bonus is well deserved swim on the beach at the end of the hike in Eze sur Mer. From here, you can either take a train or bus back to Nice.