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Eze: The Enchanting Village on the French Riviera

views from Le Jardin Exotique in Eze

When researching for my French Riviera itinerary, the enchanting village of Eze was the place that excited me the most. Perched on top of a rocky outcrop this 12th-century medieval village is situated between Nice and Monaco and has far-stretching views out to the ocean. It sounds almost ethereal, like a fairytale village just waiting to be discovered.

The Romans and Moors had built it in this strategic location for detecting pirates who raided the country and for me, the mere mention of swashbuckling vagabonds turned it into something out of a fantasy and romance novel.

Of course, the pirates are no more, and over the centuries, it has become a quaint and attractive place to live and work. But could it live up to such grand expectations? I would just have to find out.

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a narrow cobbled street in Eze

pinterest Graphic of the village of Eze

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The Enchanting Village of Eze

My plan to arrive early in the morning had worked perfectly as I had the place to myself rather than having to share it with other visitors. Arriving at 10.30 am, I wandered up the steep ramparts and entered the labyrinth of cobbled alleyways, only accessible by foot.

Wrought-iron street lamps, pastel shutters and flowering trees made everywhere feel magical, and I could imagine what living here must have been like all those centuries ago.

The church of Eze, built in the 18th century, stands proudly amongst the narrow pathways and although a relatively new structure, compared to others in the village, it is a focal point for the community.

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Artisan Crafts and Cute Cafes

It has a calm feeling to it and has lots of nooks and crannies to explore. Turn a corner, and you will find one of the many small galleries displaying original artworks. Enter through an archway and find an artisan shop selling unique creations.

Head up steep stone steps and arrive at a cafe covered with rambling bougainvillaea. There is no end to its beauty and charm, and tiny wooden doors leave you wondering just who lives inside. Courtyards offer the serenity just to sit, gather your thoughts and to absorb your surroundings. It is just incredible.

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Le Jardin Exotique

Le Jardin Exotique is perched at the top of the village with views over the coastline and across to Cap de Ferrat, home to the rich and famous. A nominal entrance to the gardens rewards you with Mediterranean cacti, fruit trees and other tropical plants, as well as a variety of local species.

Sculptures located around the pathways take your eye away from the glorious views for just long enough to appreciate them before returning your gaze to the mesmerising panorama.

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Chateau Eza Hotel

Before I left Eze I stopped for a drink at the five-star hotel Chateau Eza; I had been told that the view of the French Riviera from the balcony was spectacular and how right that information had been. I relaxed with a glass of chilled wine while and absorbed all the history around us, and if the walls could talk, they would have a story to tell.

Of course, to enjoy a setting like that does not come cheaply but guess what, I didn’t care because it was an experience worth the expense. I would love to stay at the Chateau Eza Hotel one day, with its unbeatable view of the French Riviera from its balconies and magnificent restaurant and have it on my bucket list. One can dream!

Stone walkway leading to Eza Hotel
Stone building in Eze
Chateau Eza in the village Eze on The French Riviera
Balconies in the Eza Hotel
a woman sitting on a chair with views over the French Riviera

When it was time for me to leave Eze I was genuinely sad and I could have happily wandered around the village again as I am sure I would have seen something that I had missed the first time. Everything I had read about the uniqueness of Eze was true, and on a sunny day in March, I couldn’t have imagined being anywhere else.

 
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Useful information on How to get to Eze.

I was using the hotel in Nice as my base and so caught a train from the station to Eze-sur-Mer station, which is a 15-minute journey. When I came out of the station, the bus stop was steps away, and I hopped on the no. 82 bus that whisked me up to the village.

Another option is to take bus number 82 or number 112  from Nice to Eze. Remember that while the views will be breathtaking, it will take longer than the train. At public holidays and weekends, the number 82 runs on a reduced schedule.

At the base of the village, there are restaurants and a tourist information centre. Still, for me, the visit to the Fragonard Perfume Shop was delightful, and I returned home with a bottle of “Pivoine” peony scent as a memory of my visit to Eze.

The sloped walk from the car park is quite uneven and slippery, as is much of Eze, so be sure to wear flat shoes with a grip to prevent accidents.

To visit the nearby Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, then the easiest option is to call an Uber from Eze as otherwise, the route will include two buses and a long walk.

Combined tickets are available for the Jardin Exotique and Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild from either property.

 

About Author

Angela Price

Angie is a full-time travel writer with over 30 years of travel experience. She has always had a passion for travel, and after a 3-month world trip with her 18-year-old son, she created her popular travel blog to share her adventures with a wider audience. When Angie is at home in the UK, she enjoys exploring the English countryside, visiting castles and gardens and planning her next big adventure. Her motto is "Live Life Wandering not Wondering".

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Suzanne Jones
1 year ago

What a beautiful little village which I hadn’t heard of before. Your photos are gorgeous!

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Suzanne Jones
1 year ago

Thank you Suzanne. It really is a wonderful place to visit.

Wendy Lee
1 year ago

Oh my goodness, my husband and I visited Eze on our honeymoon 28 years ago, so I was very excited to read your article. Isn’t this the most charming French village ever? I really do hope to return someday. The whole South of France is incredible

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Wendy Lee
1 year ago

I’m so glad you enjoyed my blog post. It is a wonderful and magical little village and I certainly fell in love with it.

Jenn - The Solivagant Soul
1 year ago

This reminds me so much of the small towns that we have in Spain almost touching France! They are all cobbelstone and beautiful, but because they are in the mountains they probably are much colder than these on the beach. I personally love that I am not the only one that when they talk about pirates my mind wanders into romance novel territory. Thank you for sharing with us this beautiful small town!

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Jenn - The Solivagant Soul
1 year ago

There is so much magic in small villages and I’m pleased you enjoyed reading about EZE. I am a romantic at heart and so loved visiting somewhere with so much history.

Ann
1 year ago

Hi Angie!
I have always wanted to visit france, but I just never got around to it… hopefully this spring we’ll go to Paris for the first time 🙂

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Ann
1 year ago

Paris in Spring will be wonderful. I live so close to France and yet don’t visit nearly enough !

Slavka
1 year ago

That’s a perfect little town in amazing location and without the crowds. I can see myself sitting on a terrace and writing a book 🙂

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Slavka
1 year ago

It would be the perfect place to write a novel !

Andi
1 year ago

This is usually not my favorite part of France, don’t like hot weather, but oh what a beautiful town from an architectural perspective! I think I would like to retry this region (off-season) as it has been a while and do some more exploring – this post has definitely tickled that fancy!

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Andi
1 year ago

I wouldn’t venture there in high season either hot and crowded but in March it was a different story , perfect weather and less tourists. We combined Nice and Monaco and it was wonderful.

Phoebe | Lou Messugo
1 year ago

Ahhh lovely Eze, it really is worthy of the word spectacular isn’t it?! Living nearby I’m spoilt and can visit whenever I feel like it. Which is pretty often (out of season!)

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Phoebe | Lou Messugo
1 year ago

What a lovely place to live near. I think I would be wining and dining in the Chateau Eza Hotel quite often! I would love to return one day.

Anna
1 year ago

This place looks super pretty, and as it’s relatively unknown it must be a pleasure to enjoy it without the tourist crowd. Your photos are stunning!

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Anna
1 year ago

Thank you for your comment. It really is a magical place.

Leah
1 year ago

Eze does look very enchanting! How charming. I would love to visit this village, and it sounds like March is a great time to go!

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Leah
1 year ago

March was perfect for us warm and sunny but out of the mad summer tourist season. I think it was pretty empty because of when we were there.

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