A visit to the medieval town of Éze has been on my ‘to visit’ list for 4 years – since my last trip to Nice. Then, the weather was cloudy so there seemed no point in making a trip to somewhere famous for its views across the Mediterranean. The weather forecast for this trip doesn’t look great for the latter part, so I thought I’d grab my chance today and go to Éze while the sun was shining gloriously and it was a warm 25C. I asked the hotel for directions and was told to take a No.1 tram from Place Massena to Vauban and then change to bus No.82 to Éze village. In theory it was only going to take me about half an hour; in practice it took over an hour. Finding the bus at Vauban wasn’t obvious; a local told me I had to take the tram back to a previous stop and I ended up asking the driver of another bus where I could get an 82 and he kindly told me to jump on his bus and at the next stop I could get the 82.
It turned out the 82 bus only ran once an hour, so I had a wait … when it finally turned up there was a huge crowd waiting to board it; mostly tourists like me heading to Éze village. I squeezed onto the bus but had to stand the whole way; I’m not at all sure everyone waiting managed to get on. So, be warned if you try to make this trip – check the bus times and get there early!
It had been a long time since breakfast so I stopped at a cafe right by the bus stop in Éze while I tried to get my bearings. The small and rather indifferent cafe au lait cost me €3.50. I then crossed a road and saw a sign to the tourist information office where I found a very helpful woman who gave me a map and pointed me in the direction of ‘the views’.
The original village was built on top of a rocky crag and first populated in 2000BC. It’s been described as an ‘eagle’s nest’ and became a prized stronghold of the Celts and Romans. In 1860 it was taken over by the House of Savoy – part of Nice’s history of being in Italy – and was then pretty much abandoned after an earthquake in 1887. Now restored, it’s a very manicured tourist attraction.
It wasn’t that hard to find my way from the new part of Éze to the medieval part for the crowds were thick. On the way up, a little market was set up selling local produce – lavender, olive oil, etc.
The narrow roads of the town were mostly filled with tour groups but I managed to get this photo below by just patiently waiting for a while! It certainly was very lovely and attractive so worth seeing.
The climb up cobbled and part-tiled walkways was steep but well maintained and I soon started glimpsing the wonderful views that had brought me there.
To get right to the top and the Jardin Exotique there’s a €6 charge, but it’s worth it. To be honest, I thought having climbed that far there was no way I wasn’t going to pay €6 and get to see the best views.
It really was stunning. At the top in the ruins of the old castle were some lovely sculptures – Earth Goddesses by Jean-Philippe Richard.
But it was the view back towards Nice and across the narrow peninsula of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat that really took my breath away and made the journey worthwhile.
I was really pleased to have made the trip to Éze at last and it was a perfect day for it. The views are magnificent. However, it was far too touristy for me to want to spend a lot of time there. There are lots of arts and crafts shops and many restaurants and cafes, but after that expensive coffee I decided to head back to Nice for lunch. The woman in the tourist office had given me a bus timetable so I arrived at the bus stop in plenty of time for the 12:10 bus to Nice. While waiting I got talking to a local woman who bemoaned the fact that more buses weren’t run for it was always busy. It turned out I could also take the 112 bus and happily I got a seat and was back to the centre of Nice in only about ¼ hour! So if you don’t get lost, getting to Éze from Nice is quick and easy and to be thoroughly recommended, although you won’t necessarily want to eat there.
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