By Lynne Long
From the Cote D’Azur, in France, the easiest, cheapest, way to reach Eze Village is by public bus. The number 100 bus covers the whole of the coastal route in both directions from Menton to Nice, and each journey only costs one euro. Near the bus stop at Eze Village, there is a tourist office where you can pick up leaflets and information about the town.
Eze Village is an ideal day excursion from the French Cote D’Azur, situated high on a hill overlooking an expanse of the Mediterranean Sea between Nice and Monaco. And it doesn’t have to be an expensive side-trip.
One of France’s famous “villages perché,” or “perched towns,” Eze sits loftily atop a hill, almost 450 meters above sea level. From there, you’ll have breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, the sea, and the coastline to St John Cap Ferrat, near Nice.
Eze was founded centuries ago in 2000 B.C., and has been passed around to various conquerors since that time: the Romans, the Saracens, the Moors, lots of lordly French families came and went. The Counts of Savoy held sway for many years in the 1300’s before different wars and battles placed Eze back into the hands of the French in about 1860.
Fortifications were constructed over the centuries, although not many still remain. What does remain today are the tiny interwoven streets, ancient houses, and plenty of garden areas..
The castle — originally erected around the 12th century B.C., is now a garden sanctuary, home to the remains of the castle ruins and a large selection of cacti and succulent plants. The fee is five euros to enter the “jardin exotique.”
Everything else is free to explore. Look around, wander the streets and steps, venture down ancient stone-cobbled alleyways squeezed between tall buildings and admire the shops that are dotted all around the village, tucked away in basement caves.
Some shops do sell the usual touristy nick-knacks, but you’ll also find some excellent handicrafts, including all kinds of “artisan” styles of jewelry, wood crafts, dried flowers, leather and artwork.
There are many places to eat and drink, although the restaurants can be pricey. Generally, lunch or dinner ranges from around 50 euros upwards. To eat well on a budget, try one of the smaller, family-run cafes.
There is a large church, dating from 1772, and an older chapel which dates from 1306, evidently Eze’s oldest surviving building, both open to visitors. Cars and taxis are non-existent in this hill-top town, so be prepared to do a lot of walking. However, the view alone is well worth the effort.
Two other places well worth visiting while in Eze are local “parfumeries,” or perfume shops. Try the Galimard and Fragonard factories, which make perfumes from start to finish, and sell a huge range of products. Both are within easy strolling distance of Eze Village, with no entrance fee, so you can spoil yourself completely.
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