Commanding a strategic position on a spur of rock teetering above the French Riviera, Èze is a remarkably well-preserved medieval village that lures visitors with its picturesque streets and sea views. This fortified stronghold, set between Nice and Monaco, was prized by the Phoenicians, Romans, Moors and, later, the House of Savoy, all in an attempt to control the coastline below.
The village is set on an outcrop 427 m (1,401 ft) above the sea. Even the journey to get here, which twists and turns along a road that follows the contours of the hillside, offers far-reaching views of the surrounding countryside, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and the glittering sea and the bobbing yachts below.
Once you arrive in the village, the pace changes. A far cry from the glitz of Cannes or Monaco, Èze is like an open-air museum, its ancient buildings and tiny streets little changed in centuries.
Èze’s narrow, winding streets and tiny alleyways are lined with rickety old houses with sloping roofs, art galleries and cafés. As you wander down alleys barely wide enough for two people to pass, you're eventually likely to walk under an archway and out into a hidden square or a terrace offering views of the coastline.
Ancient stone steps lead to meandering streets, where boutiques and perfume shops alternate with cascading showers of bougainvillea, while quiet courtyards with trickling fountains offer a respite from the sun. The village fans out to cover every inch of the hilltop, and everywhere you stroll you're treated to hidden views that only reveal themselves at the last minute.
At the village’s summit lie the ruins of a 12th-century castle. These are now surrounded by the Jardin Exotique d'Èze, a collection of more than 400 cacti as well as xerophytes, other succulents, citrus trees and exotic plants from all over the globe. Between the plants, narrow paths cling to the hillside and link stairways and lookouts that provide coastal views, the skyline only punctuated by towering saguaro cacti.
The only other specific sight of interest is the 18th-century village church, which stands on the foundations of an earlier 12th-century structure. Inside, Baroque trompe l'oeil paintings decorate the walls.
Èze is, unsurprisingly, a very popular destination in midsummer, when crowds of day trippers throng the narrow streets. But come early in the morning, late in the evening or, better still, stay overnight, and you'll discover this glorious village at its best.
Map of Èze
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Èze
- Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat less than 5 miles away
- Monaco and Monte Carlo less than 5 miles away
- Nice 7 miles away
- Saint-Paul-de-Vence 12 miles away
- Antibes 16 miles away
- Grasse 23 miles away
- Saint-Tropez 48 miles away
- The French Riviera 49 miles away
- Provence 61 miles away
- Aix-en-Provence 97 miles away
- Roussillon 104 miles away
- Ménerbes 108 miles away
- Gordes 109 miles away
- L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue 116 miles away
- Saint-Rémy-de-Provence 127 miles away
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region 128 miles away
- Les-Baux-de-Provence 129 miles away
- Avignon 129 miles away
- Orange 131 miles away
- Arles 137 miles away
- Rhône-Alpes 138 miles away
- Pont-du-Gard 142 miles away
- Chamonix 148 miles away
- Uzès 148 miles away
- Talloires 157 miles away
- Annecy 163 miles away
- Lyon 188 miles away
- Alsace 276 miles away
- Dordogne 284 miles away
Photos of Èze
Accommodation choices for Èze
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