Alpes-Maritimes (06440) Population: 1,139 Altitude: 372 m
Peillon is a very picturesque, perched fortified village only 20 km north of Nice. The village is very medieval looking, on top of a high narrow rocky peak, with the compact collection of houses in grey stone and narrow little streets winding up and down through low, vaulted passages and sometimes by steep stairs. Peillon is considered as one of the most beautiful perched villages of the Cote d'Azur
It's a pedestrian-only village; the road into Peillon ends at a plaza where you park the car, and you can then enter and explore the village on foot. The only commerce is the couple of hotels/restaurants at the entrance outside the village. There are no shops, no souvenirs, no groceries. There is a very nice "place" in front of the church [photo-7] with benches and a great view, but you have to climb to the very top of the village to get there. The plaza at the village entrance has a nice fountain from 1800, but it's in the busy little parking lot without much charm.
The short drive up the valley from Nice is through a really dismal industrial area, but once at the village you're in a gorgeous area of steep mountains and valleys, little rivers, forests and (usually) clear blue skies.
Peillon Village has a charming small gifts/souvenirs shop called La Maiouneta (the little house in Nice dialect). La Maiouneta is right above the fountain, at the beginning of the "Carrera Centrala" (or Central road) which leads to the Church square at the top of
the village. There you can find post cards, souvenirs, local produce as well as paintings and hand painted ceramics made by local artisans. La Maiouneta opened in October 2000 and caters for the passing tourists and the locals that look for original gifts. It is owned and run by a local girl, Isabelle.