•Alpes-Maritimes (06360) • Population: 2,446 • Altitude: 427 m
Eze is a medieval village perched like an eagles 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 good view of the coast (it will cost you, though).
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 narrow roads wend their way upward to the well sign-posted Jardin Exotique Panorama. When you finally arrive at the top, you'll find the way to the Jardin, and the panoramic view, blocked by a 12 F admission cost, a detail that wasn't mentioned earlier and lower.
Any sense of this ancient village's medieval past is, however, offset by the multitude of souvenir shops and streets full of tourists. On a Friday in March, the narrow streets already had a fair number of tourists, admittedly including ourselves. Eze is a pretty village, but it's not at all off the beaten path.
The two-level square clock tower on the church is lovely [photo-5]. There are pretty little shaded squares, and the view out over the valley as you're walking up is very nice. Along the way we found a stand selling herbs that was picturesque and smelled great. There are also some terrace cafés at the top and some high-class hotel restaurants in the old village.
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 you can park in the lot for 5 F and hour. The public toilets near the parking lot cost 2 F, but they are large and clean. The area near the road and parking lot is where you'll find cafés, restaurants, shops, verrerie (glass blowing).
The ancient 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.
Two Grasse parfumeries are represented in Eze village, Galimard with a shop and Fragonard with shop as well as a factory you can visit. Both parfumeries offer a 10% discount if you have the Eze map, free from the Office de Tourisme located at the corner of the parking lot.
- Open daily
- Tel: (33) 493 41 10 70; Fax: (33) 493 41 27 61
- Factory visit: daily, 8h30-18h30
- Tel: (33) 493 41 05 05; Fax: (33) 493 41 02 95
Fort Revère is located on the mountain ridge above the Col d'Eze.
- Maison de la Nature: expositions; Wed 13h-17h free; Herbs, photos, (check).
- 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
DatesFête communale-patronale: 4-5 Aug
Fête de l'Oeillet: Easter Sunday.
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
Eze village is beside the Moyenne Corniche (RN7) road between Nice and Monaco-Menton.
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.
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.
Cycling Tour de France
On the route of the 2009 Tour de France, stage 2, Monaco to Brignoles (via the Col de Eze).
• Latitude, Longitude: 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.