Eze village, Eze-sur-Mer
Alpes-Maritimes (06360) Population: 2,446 Altitude: 427 m
Eze is a medieval village perched like an eagle's nest on a narrow rocky peak overlooking the Mediterranean sea. The ancient fortified village is still crowned with the ruins of its 12th-century fortified castle (torn down in 1706), sitting on a narrow rocky peak. The castle grounds host the well-known Jardin Exotique, and from the top (429 m) you'll have an great view of the coast.
The village forms a circular pattern around the base of the castle. The old buildings and narrow streets are very well restored, with high stone walls and narrow roadways of red-brick centered stone. The streets are very narrow, and very pretty, with cobblestones, stone walls and ancient buildings.
The sense of this ancient village's medieval past is, however, largely offset by the multitude of souvenir shops and streets full of tourists.
Eze village sits beside the very busy Moyenne Corniche (RN7), the main road (along with the Basse Corniche and Grande Corniche) between Nice and Monaco-Menton. The Moyenne Corniche is usually very crowded, and in the summer extremely crowded, so plan an early start. At the road junction is the main parking lot for the village. The area near the road and parking lot is where you'll find cafés, restaurants and shops.
The ancient Eze Village is contrasted by the residential Eze-sur-Mer, a seaside "town" between Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Cap d'Ail. Eze-sur-Mer has beaches, water sports, cafés, restaurants and hotels. And a train station.
Eze is a pretty village, but it's not at all off the beaten path. The narrow streets are also very steep, and many with steps, so it's not easily accessible for people with mobility problems. On the up side, you can't get lost from your friends, at least no for long. There's only a single point of entry (or exit) for the old village: through the vaulted Potern entry at the end of Place du Centenaire.
The 18th-century Notre Dame de l'Assomption church of Eze is a pretty, neoclassical ocre color, and has a two-level square clock tower. There are pretty little shaded squares as you walk up through the village, and the view out over the valley is very nice.
There are also some terrace cafés at the top and some high-class hotel restaurants in the old village.
The Eze Gardens (Jardin Exotique) are located at the very top of the Eze village. It's easy to find: just keep walking through the village upwards. The cost of entry (2017) is 12 euros, kids under 12 free. The fact that the gardens have an entry fee isn't clearly marked in the lower village.
The Garden has an extensive collection of Mediterranean plants, all well tended and clearly marked and explained for the visitors. The view, however, surpasses the plants, and is the main reason most people come here.
While Eze village has a lot of steep streets and many steps, the Jardin Exotique has lots and lots of steps and some steep paths. If your legs can stand it, the visit is well worth the effort, because the views are magnificent.
Two Grasse perfumeries are represented in Eze village, Galimard with a shop and Fragonard with shop as well as a factory you can visit. Both perfumeries offer a 10% discount if you have the Eze map, free from the Office de Tourisme located at the corner of the parking lot.
Fort Revère is located on the mountain ridge above the Col d'Eze.
- Maison de la Nature: expositions; Wed 13h-17h free; Herbs, photos.
- Sentier Nature de la Grande Corniche. 1 hr, 1500 m walk. But plan on 1h30-2h. Incredible views, from tower table d'orientation and other spots. Sign-posted plants and geological information (in French, with diagrams). Views over the sea and inland towards mountains. Herbes de Provence, perfumed air.
History of Eze
First record, 4th century: Avizio; 1602 Esa; 13th c. Isia, Ysia.
Prehistoric: Eze was the site of an ancient Ligurian oppidum, probably established by the Phoenicians and later occupied by the Romans. The original oppidum was on Mont Bastide, 1 km northwest of the current perched village.
Gallo-Roman: The Heraklean Way (later replaced by the Via Domitia) passed by Eze; there's a pillar somewhere on the Plateau de Justice, 3 km to the west. A Roman tomb can be seen at the Chapelle des Pénitents.
Tel : 0493 41 26 00; Fax: 04 93 41 04 80
Aug - Fete patronale de la Saint Laurent
• GPS: 43.730885, 7.357058
There are plenty of cafés and restaurants at Eze village. Most of the lower-priced ones are at the bottom of the village near the road. In the upper part of the old village are some up-market restaurant-hotels, with menus in the 50-60 euro price range.
There are about 15 avens around Eze, including the aven du Moulin-Oublié that goes down 50 m beneath the village, and the aven de Lieusera that goes 70 m deep.
The tiny Musée d'Eze is located in the upper village.
Tel: (33) 493 41 26 00
Fort Revère Botanical Area
A large area on along the ridge is layed out as a botanical area, with Mediterranean plants presented with informative panels. It's a lovely walk through the area even if you aren't particularly interested in the plants. From end Aug to beginning Nov, migratory-bird-watching facilities are provided here for the public.
- Location: on the mountain ridge above the Col de Eze, with a fabulous view of the Mediterranean coast.
- Entry: Free
The seaside part of the commune, Eze-sur-Mer, is on the main train line between Nice and Monaco-Ventimiglia, and there are frequent trains all day long. The connection between Eze-sur-Mer and the village is via the Chemin de la Mer footpath, which is long and steep. The connecting road between the Basse Corniches and the Moyenne Corniche is the D48, Bretelle St. Laurent, to the east. Bus and taxi service is available.