Charming Èze France via

The Charming Medieval Village of Èze

Èze is a page from a medieval fairy tale. A mountaintop castle on the rugged French Riviera, with exotic gardens overlooking a sweeping landscape that tumbles into the azure Mediterranean Sea. Ochre and stone buildings cling to the mountainside, while pathways wind through, around, and up to the summit. Every crack and cave is turned into a shop, a restaurant, a home. The only open space, the courtyard of Chappelle de la Sainte Croix overlooks the valley below and the approach into the city.

If it sounds like the setting for a Disney fantasy, it’s a case of art imitating life. Walt Disney spent considerable time in the village of Èze, and you should, too. Easily the most picturesque village on the Côte d’Azur, Èze is a short trip from both Nice and Monte Carlo. Within 30 minutes, you can be climbing the village’s stairs and slopes. And you’ll be climbing a lot of them, but the village rewards you with quaint shops, galleries, and cafes, and some of the best views on the Riviera.

Èze in History

The hilltop hamlet is obviously old. The church was built in 1764, though the original chapel dates back to 1306. Even that is relatively new. A stash of Greek coins found in Èze in the 19th Century are from the 3rd Century BC. (Those coins are now in the collection of London’s British Museum.)

Evidence suggests the area was first settled around 2000 BC. In the centuries since, it has been part of many empires: Greek, Roman, Ottoman, and French. The area was ruled by the Moors, the Republic of Genoa, and the Turks under Barbarossa. The House of Savoy built the village into a fortified stronghold in the 1300s, and the Bourbon King Louis XIV tore it down in the 1500s. Finally, in 1860, the people of Èze voted unanimously to be French.

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Èze Today

The village is famous for its view over the Mediterranean and for being strikingly photogenic itself. Although it was once difficult to approach, today it’s very easy to visit. As a result, it’s a popular day trip for cruise ships along the French Riviera, and for tourists visiting Nice, Monaco, and the Cinque Terre region of Italy.

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The view might bring you to Èze, but it’s the village that leaves an impression. Walking up from the tourism office and shops at the foot of the hill, you’ll first pass the Château de la Chèvre d’Or, usually with an assortment of expensive Italian sports cars out front. (The village is pedestrian-only, so guests must park here.) The 5-Star luxury hotel has beautiful gardens, and a wonderful, if not pricey, restaurant. (Make reservations in advance if you plan on dining here.) You can see some of the hotel grounds from farther up in the village, but it’s worth a wander through to see the statuary and gardens.

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Walkways wind up the hillside between what were once houses. Today, they are filled by galleries and shops that are a delight to explore. Around every bend, though, you will be tempted to stop for pictures. Bougainvillea cascading down walls, dramatic cliff-top outlooks, and charming covered walkways compete to be your favorite photo op of the day.

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The Gardens of Èze

At the center of the village is Notre Dame de l’Assomption. The unassuming church perched on the mountainside was built in the 18th century, on the ruins of the original 14th century chapel. It is open to the public, with beautiful frescoes and paintings inside, but it is an active church. Walk across the courtyard for access to the cemetery and the gardens beyond. Water splashes unexpectedly in a small grotto, and the path winds around for spectacular views of the valley and coast.

The hilltop peaks at just over 1,400 feet (429 meters) above the sea, where you’ll find the Jardin Exotique d’Èze. It’s the only attraction in the village with an admission charge; €6 will get in you, and it is well worth it. The gardens were established in the castle ruins atop the hill after World War Two, and are one of the village’s enduring landmarks. Designed by Jean Gastaud, who built the exotic garden of Monaco, the gardens feature many species of cacti and succulents. Men carried sacks of soil and rocks up the mountainside to build the gardens. Later, a collection of statues, the Earth Goddesses by artist Jean-Philippe Richard, was added. The Goddesses’ view from hilltop is perhaps the best to be found on the French Riviera.

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Eating & Staying in Èze

Climbing the stairs of Èze is sure to build your appetite. There are a few options in the village besides the hotels. La Taverna serves Italian dishes from €15-25. Le Nid d’Aigle (appropriately, the Eagle’s Nest) has a varied menu with everything from Fish & Chips and Ravioli, to escargot and Boeuf Bourguignon with relaxed outdoor dining tucked into garden settings. Prices range from €12 to €30. You will find more restaurants in the area surrounding the village. For something simple, Creperie le Cactus is a favorite (€7-15).

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There are two luxury hotels in the hilltop village of Èze: the Château de la Chèvre d’Or, and Château Èze. More options can be found in Èze-sur-Mer, which seems close. Being directly downhill from the village, they are accessible by the steep Nietzche Path, or a fairly long (10km) drive around and up the mountainside. (There is no direct route up.) As mentioned, the village is very convenient to Nice and Monaco, with more lodging options.

There are hotels in and around Èze in all price ranges. Find your perfect stay here, or check hotel reviews with TripAdvisor.
There are also a variety of Airbnb accommodations in the area. If you’re not already a member, join now using our link and get a $55USD credit!

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Getting to Èze

There is a train station in Èze-Sur-Mer but, as noted, it’s not easy to get up to the village without a hike. It is faster and easier to drive or take the bus. Èze is located on the Moyenne Corniche, almost halfway between Nice and Monte Carlo. It’s a simple and direct route, and should not take more than 30 minutes from either city. If you drive, limited parking is available at the entrance to the village.

Taking the bus is quick, easy, and economical. From Nice, Buses #82 (Lignes d’Azur) and #112 (Zou!) will take you to Èze Village, and Bus #112 continues on to Monte Carlo. (For times and bus stops, visit Lignes Azur.) Conversely, from Monte Carlo, take Bus #112 to Èze Village. Buses #82 and #112 stop near the Office de Tourisme (near the Avia Service Station) just outside of the village. The fare should be under €2 each way.

A few quick notes:

  • There are several stops in Èze; you’ll want to get off/on at Èze Village.
  • Bus #112 does not run on Sundays or holidays.
  • Bus #100 also goes between Monte Carlo and Nice, but through Èze-Sur-Mer and not the hilltop village.
  • Buses run between 7am and about 7:40pm, but always check for exact times.

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Have you been to Èze, or is the scenic Medieval village still on your bucket list? We’d love it if you would share your memories or plans with us in the Comments! Meanwhile, enjoy a few more pictures from charming Èze!

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Thanks for coming along for the read!

81 comments on “The Charming Medieval Village of Èze

  1. Well aren’t I the lucky one, I live near Eze and can go when I want! I do know just how lucky I am living in this part of the world and do my best to share my enthusiasm for it! I’m so glad you linked up to #AllAboutFrance sharing your love for the place too. It’s definitely one of the jewels of the RIviera and hard to beat. One day I hope to stay in the Chèvre d’Or…

    • Hi Phoebe – We do envy you! On our last trip to Nice, we actually started browsing the ads in the immobiliers’ shop windows. The realization that we could afford the move just made matters worse. Now we spend more time dreaming up schemes to sell everything and move to France! (Okay, maybe that’s not really “worse”. 😉 Until that happens, it’s great to have blogs to keep us in touch with what we consider our European home. Thanks for commenting – and we hope to stay at Chèvre d’Or, too.

  2. Gorgeous photos! Every centimeter of Èze, it seems, is drenched in beautiful color. Jean-Philippe Richard’s Earth Goddesses are the sweet and graceful icing on the cake.

    • Thanks, Melodie! You are right – Eze left no corner untouched by Mother Nature’s paintbrush! And we totally agree on the Earth Godesses. They are mesmerizing! Merci beaucoup for reading & commenting; truly appreciated.

  3. Eze is such a beautiful tiny place! I was here years ago and it was so nice to see your photos and remember walking through the little streets. I didn’t know that Walt Disney spent time here – very interesting! #AllAboutFrance

    • Hi Catherine – Thanks for reading! It’s amazing how many places in Europe have a tie to Walt Disney! He was certainly well traveled, and we think that shows in his ideas for the parks, especially Epcot. We’re glad we brought back fond memories for you! Wandering through the narrow lanes of Eze is one of our favorite ways to spend an afternoon.

  4. Wish I had gone to Eze instead of Monte Carlo 🙁 While Monte Carlo was fun for a day trip, I reckon I would have enjoyed Eze better. Your photos are beautiful. One of the photos with the goddess standing at the ruins of Eze Castle – she looks so real!

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  7. Eze just looks incredible Rob, clearly another reason why the Cote d’Azur is so beloved. Your photos are sublime by the way, such beautiful landscapes down to the sea. Sadly, it doesn’t seem too budget friendly, although those food prices are affordable, so it would have to be a day trip if Iwanted to visit any time soon. Still, France is full of surprises.

    • Thanks David! We’re big fans of your photos, as well. Staying in Eze is definitely on the pricey side. We’ve only visited from Nice, but a weekend in the village is on our “dream stays” list. Its location is perfect for a day trip though. In fact, that’s a great point for nearby Nice – lots of day trips you can take from there. (I sense another post coming! 😉 Thanks for your comments; much appreciated!

  8. Eze is really so charming! Been there years ago, your post made me wanna go back! especially loved Jardin Exotique d’Èze and the views!

    • It sure doesn’t take much for us to want to go back! The village truly is enchanting. Hopefully, you’ll find your way to Eze again! Thanks for your comment!

  9. Wow this place looks so beautiful!! I absolutely love all the medieval architecture along the south of France. It’s so beautiful and charming!! Great post!

    • Bonjour Chloe! We really enjoyed Eze, but you’re right – all around the south of France are awesome cities and villages with lots of history and beautiful architecture. Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for your comment!

  10. Wow the views are just KILLER! I would love to visit someday, how dreamy! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday, hope to see you again this weekend! xo

    • Hi Kana, thanks for reading – and YES! Those views! Glad we found #FlyAwayFriday – the community is great, and we love all of the great stories every week. We’ll be back often!

  11. Zut alors! What eez zees? How on earth could I have missed? I have not known about Èze before now – thank you for the beautiful illumination – looks amazing. Thank you kindly for sharing with #FarawayFiles, cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

    • Ah, mon cher, zees eez Eze! C’est magnifique, no? We wondered the same thing the first time we caught glimpse of it. Instantly hooked! We’ve enjoyed our visits immensely, and would gladly return again. Cheers Erin! Thanks for reading!

  12. No I haven’t been but take me to the Golden Goat (Chèvre d’Or) right now! Those views are absolutely incredible. I adore France and I am not sure why I have missed Èze but I will there soon. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • Hi Katy! Aren’t the views ahhhhh-mazing? Chèvre d’Or is pretty amazing too, but do you really need to brag about your Michelin Stars when you have that terrace view? We would have been happy with McDonald’s…but really did like the restaurants, too. #spoiled Hope you get to go sooner rather than later! Thanks for reading.

  13. David, my other half, loves France. We went there so many times in the early years of our marriage that I finally refused to go back until he took me somewhere, anywhere, else. I don’t think we ever got to Eze though. Now I am going to have to go back because it looks so gorgeous.

  14. Beautiful, beautiful Èze. The Chèvre d’Or has been on my hotel wishlist for years….One day! I so much enjoyed reading and looking at your wonderful photos. Thanks for inspiring me on #FarawayFiles

    • Hi Clare! We had wanted to visit Eze for a few years, and then found that once was not enough! Actually, we’d like to go back again. And again and again… 😉 Glad we could link up with #FarawayFiles – Eze seemed like the perfect post for it. Thanks for reading!

  15. Great stuff – I visited the village of Èze in 2014 when I was staying in nearby Nice. Its a great area and was really sunny when I visited in May. I don’t remember one drop of rain and the views are stunning!

    • The photos are from a couple of visits, one in summer and one in fall. We didn’t see rain during the summer either, but had rain all morning in the fall. Even in the rain, though, the village and views are fantastic! Thanks for reading, Barry!

  16. What are the chances we would both link up about Eze the same week #WanderfulWednesday! We loved our trip there to the Chevre d’Or!

    • Hi Jo – We were thinking the same thing! Just shows how great the village is. Really enjoyed reading about your visit to the Chateau. A meal there really is something. It certainly has left us with a hope to return! Thanks for your comment!

  17. This is so pretty! Really like a fairytale. We really would love to visit Èze someday! #travelgoals #feetdotravel

    • Hi guys – That is a great travel goal! I think one of ours is now to figure out how to live there for a while. It’s just so dreamy though, we’d never get anything done! 😉 Thanks for reading!

  18. What a marvellous view from the top of the hill! Like the bit about the Italian sports cars, these kinds of places would heaven to visit if you were rich!! But also pretty good if you’re not!

    • Hi Marcella – Thanks for stopping by! Those archways over the lanes really give the place a unique feel. Add in the cute shops and amazing views and wow…we are obviously smitten! 😉

  19. We love France and this takes us back to our canal boating holidays visiting picturesque places such as Eze. Great post would love to visit. #feetdotravel

    • Hi Paul & Carole! We would love to go canal boating through France! In fact, we’ve talked about it for a couple of years now, but something always pulls us in a different direction. Glad you liked the post, and we hope you do get to spend some time in Eze!

  20. Wasn’t familiar with this area, but it looks like a little piece of paradise, very quaint. I too love cobblestone streets just something old world about it of course. Would love to visit and learn all the history. Very informative post but your pictures just put it over the top.

    • Thanks for your nice comment, Lisa. It is very pretty, but those cobblestones were anything but paradise on our rainy day visit. 🙁 The rest of the time, though, they really completed the scene. As always, thanks for reading!

    • Hi Shona – It happens! We had the same reaction when we first read about Eze. Visiting just made it worse. As we were walking back down the hill, we were already making plans for our next visit. And the same thing happened on that next visit! In fact, if we could just live there…yeah, that would be good. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

    • Hi Jim (and Corinne!) – you’re right about that. The stone walls framing the blue Mediterranean is just beautiful. Always glad to be part of #wkendtravelinspiration!

  21. Eze sounds wonderful and very picturesque. The closest I got to Eze was Toulon (quite far) several years ago. Carrying sacks of soil and rock up the mountainside to build the garden must have been a lot of work

    • Hi Rhonda! We think it really is one of the most picturesque spots on the Cote d’Azur. (We may be just a little bit biased. 😉 And that says a lot, since most of the Mediterranean coast in that area is super photogenic!! Thanks for reading.

  22. I hadn’t heard of Eze before reading this post but this is somewhere I would definitely love to visit! I love places with history and it clearly has this. Taking a stroll along the cobbled stones would be fantastic and I can see myself doing that, it really is a charming place so thanks for bringing it to our attention! Love all the information on how to get there as well, very helpful, thank you! #feetdotravel

    • Hi Sy & Angie! Boy, Eze is about a world away from where you guys have hung your fins lately, eh? But you would really like it. The views are phenomenal, and the whole Mediterranean is right there! You could still get in the water…although probably a bit colder than where you are. 😉 Thanks for reading, guys!

  23. Your beautiful photos of Eze really do look like they were ripped right from the pages of a fairy tale! Such a charming town full of history and picturesque views. You’ve completely sold me. I need to add a Mediterranean trip with a stop in Eze to my bucket list! #WeekendWanderlust

    • Erin, I’d say you do! But then, I think everyone needs a Mediterranean trip…or several! The whole area is just so pretty and full of history, and there is so much great food! Yes, definitely several trips are needed. 😉 Glad you like the pictures; thanks for the kind words and for your comments!

  24. Rob, this place is truly charming! I have seen photos of the town before but your photos surpass what I have seen before. Love the stone aspect of the roads and buildings. The garden and views are so beautiful. Would like to visit (been to the Rivera but not here). #WeekendWanderlust

    • Hi Ruth – thanks for the kind words! Glad you liked the post. It sounds like you’re going to have to return to the French Riviera! I know, that’s too bad. 😉 It seems like you enjoy charming little towns, and this is a 10 on the Charming Scale! Hope you get to visit soon.

  25. What a beautiful little town! I haven’t been to Nice or the surrounding area but this would be a fantastic place to while away a couple of days. Love the cute cobbled alleyways, the historic buildings and the stunning views of the sea. The al fresco dining also looks great!

    • Hi Lexx – We think you would love Eze! Funny thing – we were there around the time you were in Marseilles and found a soap shop that looked very much like the one you found. But then, I imagine they’re pretty popular in Provence. There’s also a great hike from the hilltop village into Eze-Sur-Mer, and we heard it continues on all the way to Nice. Such a pretty area, that would be a great hike! Anyway, thanks for your comment – hope you get to Eze soon!

    • Thanks guys! We had the same feeling – every thing we saw about Eze drew us closer. Finally, we had a cruise stop in Cannes and made a bee-line for the hilltop village! As soon as we were there, we knew we had to come back with more time to explore and enjoy. Funny thing is, that keeps happening. 😉 Thanks for reading; we’re glad you enjoyed it!

    • Yay! We loved Eze and think it should be on the bucket list for anybody who loves history, culture, and all things medieval. It is kind of magical – it’s almost like a time machine, and it’s easy to feel far, far away from the modern world there. At least, until someone’s cell phone rings. 😉 Thanks for reading, Scarlett!

    • Hi Lolo! Thanks for the kind words! We did our best to capture Eze, but it still doesn’t compare to actually being there! It seems like we wanted to stop time at every corner and just live in that moment. Hopefully, you’ll get to go soon – we’re sure you’ll love it as much as we did!

  26. I had not heard of Eze, but it really looks lovely. Your pictures turned out great, the views really are stunning. Will have to add this to the list for my trip to the south of France. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    • Hi Anisa – Glad we could put Eze on your radar! It really is a great day trip, and there’s actually more to do in the area around Eze if you have the time. Of course, we could spend hours taking in those views! 🙂 Thanks for you comment and kind words!

  27. Wow this place looks amazing, I don’t know how I missed it on my France road trips. The view from the restaurant is absolutely gorgeous, I would love to sit there for a while, drinking a coffee while admiring the view.Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Oana – How did you miss Eze? Well, good to have a reason to go explore more, right? We really like to explore, and having so many twisty lanes and cute shops to duck into was like heaven. But then to sit (after all those stairs and slopes, sitting is good!) and have a coffee? That was perfect. Thanks for reading!

    • Hi Cherie – How exciting! A trip to Eze is a great part of a trip to the French Riviera and southern France. And April is a good time to go – not as mobbed by tourists, and not so hot. Can’t wait to read about your trip, and see how you liked it! Enjoy!

    • Magical is a good word for it! Especially when you’re enjoying a sunset with friends over a glass of wine with those views! You’re going to love it. Thanks for reading!

  28. Wow, I had never heard of Eze, but it looks like an amazing place to spend a few days – or forever. It reminds me of Torremolinos, a beach town in southern Spain that I visited as a teenager. It, too, is a picturesque village with many steps and charming little shops tucked into small, ancient spaces, but the presence of many cars there certainly changes the atmosphere!

    • Hi Laura – I hadn’t thought about it, but I can see some similarities there. Eze-Sur-Mer is the seaside part, but the beaches aren’t like Torremolinos; that part is more like Nice. You could certainly see all of Eze in a day trip, but having a couple of days to unwind and enjoy it would be great. Being a full time resident would be interesting – I’d love to try it sometime…except for the part where I have to carry groceries up the hill. 😉 Thanks for reading!

  29. Eze looks so beautiful with the cobblestone streets, shops in the stone, lovely restaurants with views. Such a charming town I would love to visit. I must make another trip across the pond (so to speak)… I pinned this for my later use. Stunning photos and thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Hi Stephanie – thanks for your comment! Not to sound like the Chamber of Commerce, but you should go! Really glad you liked the pictures, but standing in those lanes with the stone arches and walls around you…it feels like you’ve gone back hundreds of years. We loved it; I think you would too!

  30. Great write up tons of useful info thanks!! I must admit I’ve not heard of Èze it looks incredible, so pretty and so much history … we’ll have to go when we eventually visit the area and get ready for those steps!!

    • Hello Gents! I feel like you guys would love Eze! First off, it’s easy to go crazy with the camera. Add in the cute shops, the cafes, and the stunning views, and it’s a great day! Despite all the steps… 😉 Thanks for reading, guys!

  31. Wonderful – I love this! So informative and such stunning pictures! Some of the photos you have taken from the hotel Chèvre d’Or and the Jardin Exotique remind me of the views in the Azores!

    • Thanks guys! We haven’t been to the Azores but, if the views are similar, we are looking forward to it even more! One thing for certain: There is no shortage of great views in Eze! Thanks for reading!

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