Èze Travel Guide
Èze is a charming medieval town between Nice and Monaco in the French Riviera. Found 425 meters above the azure sea, countryside charm exudes from ancient Èze. Centered around the ruins of a 12th century castle, an intricate labyrinth of medieval streets bursts with craft boutiques and art exhibitions.
Locals call Èze a village-museé (museum village) and village d’art et de gastronomie (village of art and gastronomie). Its medieval structures blend well with shops, art galleries, hotels, and restaurants.
The stunning Chateau Eza hotel, a secluded 400-year-old property and former residence of a Swedish Prince, offers a one-star Michelin gourmet experience on the elegant terrace, high above the sparkling Med. For uber-gastronomic dining, the two Michelin star La Chevre d’Or is world-famous.
Filled with olfactory delights, the Galimard Perfume Factory and Museum in Èze captures the nostalgia of a bygone era with antique perfume bottles and delicate fragrances locked within a magical environment; an opportunity to visit should not be missed.
Èze: The Location and the People
|Èze is located on the French Riviera and includes a hilltop medieval village (Èze Village) and a seaside area which extends to the Mediterranean (Èze-Sur-Mer). |
The local citizens are the Èzasques. It has a population of 2,446. The village’s motto is Isis Moriendo Renascor (meaning “In death I am reborn”). Its emblem is a phoenix with bone as its perch. The local dialect is akin to the Monegasque language of Monaco, with some influence of Occitan and Ligurian.
Èze Village is a pretty medieval village with steep narrow streets, perched a rock 1,400 feet above the rest of the French Riviera. The mountain-top village dates back to the medieval years, with uneven stone streets, narrow passages, and low archways. It has a small hidden archway as its entrance from Place du Centenaire , and a small square to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the plebiscite in 1860.
The ruins of a 12th-century fortified castle crown this ancient fortified village. From afar, it looks like an eagle’s nest on top of a narrow peak facing the Mediterranean Sea. Èze was shaped by the Romans, Moors and the House of Savoy. The village was built on top of the rocky outcrop for security reasons, as it was a strategic location for detecting the ever problematic pirates who raided the country time and time again. The walls which were erected in the twelfth century were dismantled in 1706 by order of Louis XIV. Look for the stone plaque among the flower bed, which reminds the people of the vote to join France.
Access to the beach is tricky. There are three points of access: from the Èze train station or through a somewhat-hidden tunnel leading down from the sidewalk just to the right of Agence Sud-Azur , here:
One of the area’s famous residents is none other than U2’s frontman Bono (read about his seaside residence and where he hangs out).
Places to Visit in Èze
Èze is a small town, but one of the prettiest medieval towns in the world. Here are the best things to do and see while visiting:
The Nietzsche Path
The Chemin de Nietzsche in Èze is great if you want an easy but tiring uphill hike while you enjoy beautiful seaside views from above. The round-trip trek of the 427-meter-high former mule path will take about three hours, and at moments it is rocky and quite strenuous, though not for a reasonably fit person. But what really leaves you breathless is the emotional sweep that seems to carry and lift you, especially on the descent, when the coast reveals itself and leaps straight up from the limestone rock formations.
Check out our complete guide to the Nietzsche Path.
Èze’s Exotic Garden
Èze’s Exotic Garden (Jardin Exotique) is located at the very top of Èze Village. It’s easy to find: just keep walking through the village upwards. From this garden, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the French Riviera. Overlooking magnificent villas festooned with bright bougainvillea, the Exotic Garden is a haven of tranquility (when not packed with tourists, of course), not to mention a horticulturalists’ dream, packed with a multitude of cacti, citrus trees, tropical plants, succulents, and terracotta sculptures.
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 Èze Village has a lot of steep streets and many steps, the Exotic Garden 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.
Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption
This church is a stunning example of Baroque architecture, with a two-level clock tower. The color is neoclassical in ochre. It was built in 1765. An ancient Egyptian cross built by Phocaean Greeks shows the roots of the town. They erected a temple in the village dedicated to Isis, a goddess of life and eternity, where the village got its name. The church has 18 suns as decorations that resonate with holy presence.
How to Travel to Èze
It takes 15 minutes from Nice’s city center to get to , and start discovering the little-known wonders of, Èze.
By air: Take a flight to the Nice airport which is only 15 minutes away from Èze via bus or car.
By bus: Take buses #112 and #82 from Nice. Only #82 runs on holidays and Sundays.
By car: The main road to reach it is the Moyenne Corniche (one of the three roads) between Nice and Monaco.
Video Tours of Èze
This village perché of Èze has many wonders waiting for tourists to discover them. Enjoy the mix of medieval and modern tourist attractions in this wonderful place.