The picturesque Mountain Village Eze
Eze is a very typical provenšal village that is fully in the service of the tourists. By considering that up to the year 1952 there was even no flowing water in this little village and today, hundreds of thousand tourists visit Eze, it becomes clear how it developed in the last 50 years.
During the medieval times, a castle was built on the hill of Eze, but it never really protected the inhabitants of that time; Eze was captured several times. There is not much left from the former walls. Today, Eze is a village with numerus small shops and ateliers in short space; A typical provenšal village life will not be found in Eze, as it is a place where the tourists are at home and/or do a stop.
Those who drive alongside the Corniche Moyenne between Nice and Monaco will not avoid to get to one of the most beautiful villages of the Côte d'Azur: Eze. The view on the picture shows that Eze is a classical provenšal mountain village: a small hill in front of the big massive of Esterel, covered with buildings all around, an exotic Garden at the top.
Eze has indeed also a city quarter (village quarter) at the sea one comes across to by driving alongside the Corniche Basse, thus the quay side between Nice and Monaco, but it is only the already mentioned hill that makes the village to one of the most visited ones of the Côte d'Azur.
The mountain village Eze has 2600 inhabitants. Compared to the hundreds of thousand tourists who do every year a side trip to Eze, it is not much. At the Corniche Moyenne there is a big parking place with costs from which one can easily get to the old little village; Right at the parking place there is also a tourist information centre but one can confidently discard it as in Eze everything is needed but not a city map or something similar.
In Eze, there are numerous little alleyways ll around the mountain hill. It is simply funny to cavort around the alleyways, to look at one or two old houses nicely covered with vegetation and to get into one or two art or tourist shops in order to browse a little. Of course, there is also everything avilable for the catering: from a good restaurant up to the ice cream shop, one nearly gets everything .
By walking through the small streets and alleayways of the city and slowly gaining altitude, somewhen one gets to a small gate where one has to pay a few euros entrance fee in order to access the Jardin Exotique. The Jardin Exotique is an exotoc garden on the top of the hill where all kinds of sorts of cactus grow and where beautiful butterflies are flying freely. But there are not only cacti but also other partly exotic plants.
The exotic garden is not very large; one probably needs half an hour to walk comfortably through all the paths and to have a closer look at some of the exemplars. But if one orientates in the exotic garden in direction to the top, one will get to an observation deck with a great view. All around, one is protected by some old castle walls.
The view from the Jardin Exotique in Eze is one of the best ones of the whole Côte d'Azur. By looking to the right, one sees the Cap Ferrat, the harbour in front of it and all three Corniche-roads (the lower, the middle one and the upper one). By looking straight downwards, one sees the Golfe de St. Hospice and by looking to the left one can nearly look up to Monaco if the Cap d'Ail would not be in between.
The view from above to the church is also superb; While from the bottom, the church represents small tower in the mountain village, from the upper observation deck one has a horizontal view to the upper part of the church tower. Where else is it possible to stand face to face to a church tower and/or even look down to a church tower from an immediate proximity? In the background, one seesm by the way, the rocks above Monaco.
Finally, I would like to mention that Eze is undoubtfully worth to be visited. The Corniche Moyenne belongs anyway to the obligatory programme at the Côte d'Azur between Monaco and Nice. Then, one should in any case take an hour of time to visit the small mountain village. More time is really not needed in order to loaf through the oldtown and through the Jardin Exotique up to the observation deck.
Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz