A tiny medieval village perched high above the sea, Èze was perhaps my favorite town along the French Riviera. Right on the coast, midway between Nice and Monaco, Èze looks out over the Mediterranean and the neighboring towns below. It’s so small and walkable that you can explore the entire town in an hour or two. Wind through the web of stone streets, stairs, and hidden alleys – every turn holds an amazing view or a vine-covered stone wall.
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As you make your way into Èze, you’ll pass the busy local Fragonard perfume laboratory – your first indication that this little village is a bit more chic than you might have thought. This town is also home to two Michelin-starred restaurants, each part of a luxury hotel: La Chèvre d’Or (The Golden Goat, on the east side of the hilltop with private gardens and sea views) and Château Eza (on the west, with stunning views out towards Nice). You’ll want to make reservations well in advance – for now these both remain on my ‘someday’ list! Luckily, the views from casual Crêperie Le Cactus let you peek at the sprawling La Chèvre d’Or gardens.
You’ll also find art galleries, gift shops, and cafes peppered throughout Èze. Deli’ – a salad bar and olive oil shop – is a great spot for lunch, and I had an amazing pistachio ice cream sandwich from Le Glacier (6 rue Plane).
The town is topped with the Jardin Exotique d’Èze, an exotic garden of cacti and succulents designed among ruins of an ancient castle. Follow the paths through plants and sculptures as you make your way to the top. It costs a few Euros to get in, but is worth it for the amazing views out over the sea and the surrounding hills and villages.
The beach below the village is Èze-sur-mer, a 45-minute hike down the zigzagging Nietszche Path. If you want a full day in Èze, explore the village all morning and make your way down to the pebbly beach for the afternoon. If you don’t have a whole day to spend, making a dinner reservation and exploring the village before you dine would be a magical way to spend an evening. Either way, Èze is an essential stop for your itinerary on the Riviera!
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