After hiking up a mountain for an hour, sweating in the unforgiving heat of the July sun, I was ushered into a beautiful town by the ringing of church bells. Definitely the best hike ever! I was totally surprised by Èze because it’s not as popular a destination on the Riviera as Cannes or Monaco. But it’s every bit worth the effort to go! I urge you to get over here when you come to the Riviera, and so I’ve made you an Èze Visitor Guide to help you enjoy the very best of Èze (and fall in love with it like I did!).
Èze Visitor Guide
When To Go
Èze isn’t hit with tourists like other towns on the Riviera, so crowds won’t be of concern in the peak of summer. But the summer heat is definitely still an issue. Come anytime between April and October, the middle of which will push your heat limits.
How to Get There
As I said, Èze is the highest village in the Riviera. Èze the town is actually quite different from Èze-Sur-Mer, which is the one that’s got a stop on the SNCF train line. So if you choose to take the train to Èze, you’ll be dropped right near the beach at the base of the mountain. To get up to town at the top of the mountain you can hike or take a bus. If you don’t care to see the beach (which is all pebbles, no sand, by the way), then you can take Bus 82 that runs between Nice and Monaco, and stops beside the Eze town at the top of the mountain. Once you get into town, it’s all walking, no bikes or cars because it’s an old medieval walled town that just doesn’t have space for motorized transport!
What To Do
One of my actually favorite parts about Èze was the hike up from the beach to the town. I’m very intentionally referring to this as a hike (while others call it a walk), because it’s straight uphill over rocks and dirt and dust for an hour. For me, it was reminiscent of some of my hikes in Patagonia. I was unprepared in a dress and sandals but was still able to cruise through it in 45 minutes. It’s not impossible by any means, but you will sweat. Sneakers are HIGHLY recommended. This trail is called Nietzsche’s Footpath, where the German philosopher purportedly wrote ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’, and it’s well-marked so you’ll be able to find it. I loved this hike for a few reasons. First, the views just kept getting better and better as I ascended the mountain. Second, I got a proper workout in and didn’t feel so bad about indulging in a pain au chocolat that morning! And finally, when I arrived to town, welcomed by those perfectly timed church bells, I felt like I had discovered a wonderful city, instead of lazily arriving by bus. Working hard to get there made me REALLY appreciate the town. If you are physically able to do the hike, do it. Promise you won’t regret it.
What To See
The whole town is this medieval walled city so it’s all the old town, perfect for wandering and exploring. And it looks quite unlike any other village on the Riviera! Once you get up to town, the streets are still on an incline and you’re never quite done walking up so actually sneakers are a good idea for all visitors. Go all the way to the top to Le Jardin Exotique, a beautiful garden of cacti and succulents that overlooks the whole of the Riviera and costs €6 for entry. The views are magnificent, I can’t even do them justice with words or photos. But I had some deep thoughts up there…it’s just the kind of place that takes your breath away and makes you contemplate life. From atop of this mountain that I’d just climbed, I could suddenly feel the immensity of my position. All the harsh crashing waves that seemed distinct on the beach were now smoothed into a flat blue that faded so gradually into the sky that the horizon became indistinguishable. The smooth blue ocean is dotted with white yachts, yachts that are so massive as to require millions of dollars and dozens of crew to operate, but up here they are just dots leaving nothing but a temporary white streak in their wake. It’s stunning, you have to go see it.
Where To Stay
If you plan to make a multi-day visit at Èze, there are two prominent hotels to choose from. Le Château de la Chèvre d’Or and Château Eza are both beautiful hotels with amazing views. You can’t go wrong with either one! But you can also make Èze just a day trip if you’re staying somewhere else on the Riviera, it’s definitely manageable for a daytrip.
Where To Eat
There are a bunch of cute cafés and restaurants tucked into the mountainside caves around town. I loved dining under the trellis at La Taverne after my long day of hiking and exploring. I also recommend Gascogne Café for a casual bite, or Chèvre d’Or for a special occasion!
Need to Know
As part of the French Riviera, Èze is quite safe. Accessibility is problematic here, as it’s built on the mountainside and there are inclines everywhere. If you don’t want to hike to town, take the bus to get there. I would also recommend having some Euros in cash because I didn’t see an ATM when I was there. Speaking French is a bonus, but most folks in town do speak English.
Please do not go to the French Riviera without stopping at Èze! It’s one of my absolute favorite places, it’s so beautiful and charming and I can’t get enough of it! If I have the chance to live in the Riviera for another summer, I would probably live here. And now you’re armed with this Èze Visitor Guide and you’re ready to make the most of your trip to the highest village on the Riviera! Let me know how much you enjoy it!
Thanks for reading the Èze Visitor Guide! If you have found the information on brittanyfromboston.com helpful and wanderlust-inspiring, please consider making your next Expedia & Amazon purchases through these links. It doesn’t cost any extra to you, but it keeps this content coming to you free of charge!