Well, it probably goes without saying that our recent trip to the Côte d’Azur was the best fun. We ate all of the food, caught up with friends and visited some fabulous places. I can’t wait to share all of the things – style, accommodation, insights and even the books I read – with you soon.
I want to get started today with a little review of our jaunt to the village of Èze. And it’s safe to say that this isn’t the piece I expected to be writing about this famous village.
I’m almost certain that Èze doesn’t require an introduction to this audience. Perched high on the hilltops above the Mediterranean Sea, it’s generally considered a ‘must visit’ day out for visitors to Nice and Monaco, given it can be accessed in under half an hour from either destination.
Having said that, when we first travelled to the French Riviera in 2019, we didn’t manage to get around to visiting Èze. We had all sorts of other day trips planned, and decided that the ancient village would have to wait.
So there was no way we were missing Èze again – we absolutely prioritised our visit this time. We decided Èze would be our very first day trip destination after our (unexpected) three year break from travelling to France.
Accordingly, I did all of the research on when we’d go, how we’d get there, what we’d see and where we’d eat. I bought the tickets. I made the bookings. And I thought we were well and truly prepared to spend a day in this fabled village.
And here’s the thing. I didn’t fall deeply in love with Èze. It’s potentially controversial I know, but there are several villages I’d recommend you see before I’d start recommending Èze. But here’s another thing. I wouldn’t say ‘don’t visit’ if you’ve never been before either. Because I can see why people find the place completely charming. So rather than sharing the ‘Do it yourself visit to Èze’ that I thought I’d write, here’s what we enjoyed about visiting Èze, what we didn’t enjoy, and what we’d do differently next time.
What I Enjoyed About Visiting Èze
The Exotic Garden
I’m not generally a garden human. Or at least I would have said that before this trip. On this recent vacation however, we visited a few gardens, one of them being the Jardin Exotique d’Èze. When we were planning the trip, I’d assumed we’d skip the garden, but I’m so glad we didn’t. It really is quite spectacular to see so much beauty set so far above the sea. The garden features many succulent plants from around the world. And don’t be put off by descriptions of the Exotic Garden being at the top of the Èze hill. The climb is meandering and there is so much to look at, it doesn’t seem like a forced march. It’s worth noting that there’s an entrance fee for the garden. Tickets can be purchased at the gate or at ticket machines located lower down in the village.
The Views You’ll See When Visiting Èze
There’s only one word to describe them….sensational. Whether you are looking out to the Med or back at the mountains, the views are simply breathtaking. This is especially true from the garden, where you are treated to the garden views together with rooftops and either the mountains, sea or both.
How Easy It Is To Get To Èze
One of the most remarkable things about the French Riviera is the absolute abundance of public transport you find there. Trains, trams and numerous bus lines make it easy for travellers to experience all this beautiful area offers. And this transport is very affordable. While trains are a bit more expensive, individual trips on the local trams and buses cost 1.50 euro. And if you take the transport provider Lignes d’Azur up on their multi ticket pricing, those prices fall to 1.00 euro. Which is a long way for me to say that we got from Nice to Èze and back for 4.00 euro for the two of us. What’s more, there are multiple buses you can take, depending on where you’re leaving from and the timing of your visit.
My best tip is check the Lignes d’Azur website for the timetables – they’re more accurate than the ones at the stops. Having said that, both buses and trams run very regularly – we never had to wait long for a bus or a tram.
The Fact That You’ll Find Galimard There
Galimard is one of my favourite perfume creators of all time. I love the scents and I also love the fact that you can create your own fragrance in one of their workshops, something I talked about here. While their main base is in Grasse, they also offer all of their services in Èze, which may be easier for some to access (see my comments below). Regardless, I highly recommend you drop in to Galimard if you ever find yourself visiting Èze.
Lunch at La Chèvre d’Or
In many ways, the ramparts and ancient buildings of Èze reminded me of another fascinating French drawcard – the Citadel at Carcassonne. Another reminder was the fact that there are a couple of luxury establishments within Èze’s walls. One of these is Château Eza and the other, the famous Château de la Chèvre d’Or. So many of our fellow francophile friends had recommended that we visit La Chèvre d’Or for lunch or, at the very least, a drink while we were in Èze. And off the back of so much feedback, I was curious to see what everyone was talking about. Ultimately, we chose to book lunch at Les Remparts restaurant and I’m so glad we did. Delicious food, friendly service and completely breathtaking views…for me, it was the highlight of our visit to Èze.
What I Wasn’t So Sure About
The Amount Of Humans Visiting Èze At One Time
Ok. So I have to be careful here. Despite the fact that Scotty and I have visited France almost 20 times now, I never forget that when I’m travelling in France, I’m doing so as a tourist. The Cambridge Dictionary defines a tourist as someone who visits a place for pleasure and interest, usually while on holiday. For the record, that’s me. It took me a long time to become comfortable with the label. But eventually you have to face facts. I can do as much as I like to blend in while I’m in France, but the truth is, I’m happily on vacation in another country. I am the literal definition of a tourist.
Since coming to terms with this fact, I feel like I’ve developed a great deal of compassion and tolerance for my fellow tourists. But the truth is, some days I feel like there are just too many of us. If you can wander around any part of France for longer than an hour and not hear a word of French, you really have to question where you are and what’s going on. And that was our experience in Èze. This is not to say that I don’t think the tourists should be there. Tourism is the lifeblood of so many cities, towns and villages around the world (and the experience of many local economies throughout the pandemic has emphasised this). What I am saying is that our bulk presence can change the experience of a destination to something that has a bit of a Disney feel about it.
The Bus Ride To Èze
Yes, I know I talked about the speed and value of the bus network on the Côte d’Azur in the things I enjoyed about Èze. But there was one part of the bus adventure that I wasn’t so sure about. The bus was absolutely packed. Like standing room only, people getting jammed in doors type of packed. And we got on at one of the earliest stops. Which came as a shock to the humans who’d spent the last fews years in Melbourne in lockdown. The other people who were shocked were those standing at subsequent stops watching an overly full bus sail past without picking them up.
If you want to avoid the crush, and get a seat, I’d recommend getting on at the very first stop and opting for an early timetable. And if you’re not ready to be packed like a sardine into a bus, then you might consider an Uber.
What I Might Consider Next Time
To round this out, I thought I’d share how I might like to visit Èze if I had all the knowledge of two previous visits to the Côte d’Azur but it was my first time in the area. As I mentioned above, I loved the perfume making experience at Galimard in Grasse. And although you can take a train from Nice to Grasse in around an hour, the fact is, Grasse isn’t particularly easy to get around without a car. Furthermore, the perfume making location in Grasse is neither at the main Galimard perfume venue nor is it in the pretty old village.
Èze however is easy to manage when you are car-free. And the buses, no matter how full they are, drop you off right near the Galimard complex. If I had my time over, I’d make a day of Èze by combining a perfume making experience with lunch or a drink break at either luxury hotel. I’d also squeeze in a visit to the gardens before heading back to base. And if money was no object, I’d also consider staying a night at either La Chèvre d’Or or Château Eza. I’d be able to enjoy the views for longer and I’d learn if I preferred the village more when it was a bit quieter.
A Final Thought About Visiting Èze
If you’re not planning to do lunch or an extended perfume visit in Èze, then I’d suggest that the village is a half-day excursion rather than a day trip. If you did want to make a day of it, you could easily use the bus lines to combine a visit to Èze with any of the picturesque villages on the coast. The first to consider is Èze-sur-Mer (Èze on the sea). But you won’t go wrong with Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Villefranche-sur-Mer or the legendary Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
I’d love to know – have you ever been to Èze? How did you find the experience? Do you have any tips for visiting Èze? Or is Èze still on your must-visit list? Either way, let me know all your thoughts in the comments section below.
And until next time – au revoir.