Accessed by the Corniches, which wind scenically from Nice to Menton, Eze is well known for its perched village and magnificent views which attract thousands of tourists each year. The more secret part of Eze is Eze Bord de Mer, reserved for those in the know about more secluded, private hangouts and beaches.
Sheltered by two large rocks, Eze’s microclimate ensures the abundant vegetation thrives including olive trees, banana trees, date palms, citrus plants, along with fabulous flowers. It is a gorgeous part of the French Riviera and with superb regular transport links you can easily decide whether to stroll, amble or hike as the fitness level, season or even mood takes you. Its no wonder Eze featured on the film with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, “The Bucket List” – the village really is a place to visit at least just once.
If you want to follow the tourists to Eze Village then take the Moyenne Corniche (D6007) which is carved out of the mountains. If you are looking for the private and calm atmosphere offered by Eze Bord de Mer take the Basse Corniche (D6098) which follows the coastline and offers spectacular panoramic views practically all the way. The regular bus route (usually every 15 minutes) can take you from Nice to Eze in 20 minutes. If you take a train, it will take you to Eze Sur Mer, perfect if you want the beach, and then a shuttle bus can ferry you up the hilltop if you want to go to the village.
The beach in Eze Bord de la Mer is accessed down some steps across the road where you can relax and enjoy privacy and tranquility with the only sound being the lapping of the sea and the very occasional crunching of pebbles of passersby. It wouldn’t be unheard of here to have the whole beach to yourself. It is a serene location, perfect for those who want to get away from it all.
The pebbled beach of Eze is about two miles long with two private beaches and a public beach at the far end. Anjuna Bay (Anjuna Plage, 28 avenue de la Liberté; 04 93 01 58 21, www.anjunabay.com) is a relaxed yet vibrant restaurant and beach club. The atmosphere is a little bohemian – perfectly suited to the effortless elegance and easy living atmosphere of this secret hamlet. A day on this beach will put you back 18 Euros or 15 Euros for a half day. You can even enjoy a meal in this unique setting. The Anjuna beach is the perfect way to end the day, watching the sun setting over the French Riviera. Situated near the train station in Eze sur Mer it’s handy for visitors and also for guests staying in our Eze property Petit Paradis, only 5 minutes away.
The Papaya Beach Club ( Chemin de la Plage, Eze Sur Mer, close to Cap d’Ail) is more upmarket and reasonably priced than its rival, Paloma beach, at St Jean Cap Ferrat. It offers its clients private changing facilities, beds and umbrellas. Since the beach isn’t especially large, this area can get a little crowded – something you won’t be used to if you have been spoilt by the rather deserted public option. The Papaya Beach restaurant is open from April to September for lunch and dinner, but since it is on the small side you might want to book ahead. (04 93 01 50 33)
Eze village is famous for its breathtaking views of the Mediterranean and the exclusive hotel and Michelin starred restaurant; the Chevre d’Or. Whether you decide to walk to the top of the village and enjoy a picnic, or treat yourselves to a table in the restaurant grounds, perhaps just for cocktails, then the “eagle’s nest” of Eze offers a sweeping panorama of Beaulieu, the peninsula of Cap-Ferrat and the quayside of Villefranche, from an altitude of 430 metres.
The Château de la Chèvre d'Or (Rue Barri) is one of the most prestigious hotels and restaurants in the area, and not just for the view. Gastronomic delights await if you can afford the hefty bill. We bet there is a marriage proposal a week at this place. If the budget won’t stretch to this then dining al fresco at the exotic cactus garden at the top of Eze village is still a treat. The garden still has the views and is home to hundreds of cactus and wild plants along with ornate statues. For dining somewhere mid range the Troubadour is a real treat, where you can enjoy the freshest produce from local markets cooked in a relaxed and welcoming setting.
Even though Eze village is now an international tourist site and home to just about 50 residents, it is still authentic despite the usual Provence kitsch shops. Perhaps this has something to do with the classy art galleries and restaurants almost carved into the narrow winding alleys which make the walk up to the top so much more worthwhile.
Make sure Eze is on your list of places to visit. A trip to Eze should be on everyone’s hit list.