While I was planning my trip to the Cote d’Azur in France this spring during the month of May, around the Cannes Film Festival and the Formula 1 Grand Prix, some friends of mine, knowing how crazy I am about perfumes, recommended me a short visit to a mountain village called Eze, between Nice and Monaco. Having discovered that there are actually two perfume factories that I could visit there (Galimard and Fragonard), I decided to take their advice and spend a couple of hours in this place.
Instead of the original idea, I spent almost the whole day there, totally enchanted and unable to leave.
The nickname “Eagle’s Nest”, Èze got due to its location on a high cliff 427 m (1,401 ft.) above sea level on the French Mediterranean.
Located between Nice and Monaco, it offers a convenient, jaw-dropping scenic ride from either city, along the sea and up the mountain.
No cars are allowed there, but the entrance to the historic Eze is only a short walk from the bus stop and a small parking lot. As soon as you step inside, you will feel like being in the Medieval period thanks to its stone streets, low archways, and narrow passages, followed, of course, by modern tourist traps, gift shops, expensive art galleries, cafes and restaurants, and the numerous small art and craft boutiques that are so hard to resist.
The climb from the parking area up the narrow winding pathways to the top of the rock is steep and have numerous stairs, but the view of the Mediterranean is breathtaking.
With or without a guide, you will be able to find the Jardin Exotique, its panoramic garden at the top quite easily.
This exotic botanic garden, has spectacular panoramic views of the Mediterranean and the hills below, and an impressive collection of cactus, plants and rare vegetation, surrounding the remains of an ancient chateau.
Eze was once surrounded by a 12th-century fortified castle, that was torn down in 1706, but the villagers did an excellent job of restoring the old buildings.
Eze is positioned so high that its light ochre Church of Our Lady of the Assumption of Eze (Notre Dame de l’Assomption), can be seen from afar.
The church was rebuilt between 1764 and 1778 to replace the previous one, which fell in ruins.
The bell tower was built in the 19th century, and several times hit by the lightning which made the original dome disappear.
Its classical façade contrasts with its Baroque interior.
An Egyptian cross inside shows the ancient roots of this village, when the Phoenicians erected a temple there to honor the goddess Isis.
At the end of the “Avenue du Jardin Exotique”, you can take the Friedrich Nietzsche path and visit “Eze bord-de-mer”. It appears that Nietzsche composed the last part of his work “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” here, in the shadow of the olives and pine-trees.
The architecture of Eze is simply fascinating: small narrow roads, archways and fantastically restored stone houses, elegant wrought-iron street lamps, colorful shutters, shady squares and refreshing ancient fountains, all in one place. No wonder I was completely seduced by this medieval village and its marvels.