French village of Èze from the Grand Corniche
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Èze (Eza in Italian) is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France, not far from the city of Nice. Usually, the name of Èze is associated with the village on the top of the hill called Eze Village. However, there is also a sea-side place called Eze Bord de Mer (or Eze sur Mer) not far from the village of Èze (about 1.5 miles or 2.5 km) located above the road D6098 (or Avenue de la Liberté) and railway station.
There are evidences that the area surrounding Èze was already inhabited in around 2000 BC. During the past centuries the history of Èze village was turbulent and intertwined with European historic events. Being a perfect strategic point, it was conquered by the Roman Empire and after its fall suffered many armed conflicts. Various hostile tribes including Vandals, Visigoths, Ostrogoths and Burgundies swept through Provence fighting often with the Franks. Between the eighth and the 10th centuries, Saracens (the name used today to refer to Arabs, Berbers, Moors and Turks) sacked the entire coast. From their stronghold on the Massif des Maures (which in French means Moors) they regularly raided the inland villages to kill and loot until 974 when after almost 80 years their domination were ended by Count William the Liberator (William of Provence).
By 1388 Èze fell under the jurisdiction of the House of Savoy, who built up the town as a fortified stronghold. The history of Èze became turbulent several times in the next few centuries as French and Turkish troops seized the village on Barbarossa orders in 1543, and Louis XIV destroyed the fortress and the walls surrounding the village in 1706 during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). In 1860 the people of Eze voted to join France and became one of its communes.
Walking along charming streets of Eze, you still can see that it was once built around a castle. Only its ruins remain today with the village forming a circular pattern around the castle's base. Unlike the castle, the village of Èze is in excellent shape: old buildings and winding narrow streets are very well restored and the spirit of the centuries preserved in cave-like houses, high stone walls and narrow passages of cob stone and red brick. The ruined fortress is located on the cliff, the highest point in Èze at 1,401 feet (427 m) above the Mediterranean Sea. The view from the cliff is breathtaking - it is not accidental that the cliff sometimes is described as an eagle nest.
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What Makes It Special
Èze, a hill top village on French Riviera, is famous worldwide for its spectacular panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and its coast line. The medieval charm of the village, its narrow streets and centuries old houses add to the atmosphere of the place attracting many visitors. Nowadays Èze is more museum than inhabited place - very few people live in the village all year round although the entire commune of Èze has population of about 3,000 people serving tourists coming to the area. Renovated and well maintanined village undergoes its present revival as if following its medieval motto "In death I am Reborn" (Isis Moriendo Renascor) with a Phoenix as its emblem.
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Directions To Destination
The easiest and fastest way to come to Èze is by air flying to Nice Cote d'Azur International airport and then use car or taxi. Nice Cote d'Azur International airport is connected to many countries with daily flights by major airline carriers. It also serves as a hub for domestic flights.
Since Èze is located between Nice and Monaco but closer to the latter (Monaco is 3.7 miles or 6 km from Eze), one of the options is to use a scheduled helicopter flight available for private charter from Nice to Monaco. You need to make a reservation for such trip. Private or shared flights are available with maximum of five persons per helicopter. Helicopter transfer from Nice to Monaco takes about 15 minutes and costs €120 per person. If you choose a helicopter transfer you need to take a taxi or a bus to get to the village from Monaco.
Using car or taxi from Nice Cote d'Azur International airport (NCE): the airport is 11.2 miles (18km) west of Eze. If you arrive to Nice Cote D'Azur airport you usually find a lot of taxes outside the airport. It is not the cheapest way to travel French Riviera but one of the most convenient. Prices vary depending on the time of the day and the amount of luggage. The trip to Eze from the airport takes about 30 - 40 minutes. Approximate taxi costs are
- from Eze village to Nice center = €45 - €55
- from Eze village to Monaco = €45
- from Eze village to Nice Airport = €75
If you are travelling by car, follow map directions and road signs. The roads in France are in good condition and there are plenty of road signs guiding you to the place of destination. Still keep in mind that to get to Eze you will need exit 57 on the A8 highway (E74/80) which is 3.1 miles (5 km) from the village entrance.
By train: trains run along the seashore. Trains run till midnight. The nearest stop to Eze village is in Eze-sur-Mer (railway station is called Eze bord de Mer) - it is 1.5 miles (2.5 km) from the village of Eze located over the station on the hill. However, it's a 6.8 miles (11km) drive by the road up the hill and may cost you about €30 if you use taxi. You can also use a bus from Eze-sur-Mer to Eze village (for arriving and departing walking 1.5 miles along steep passage is usually not an option).
By bus: there are several bus lines connecting Nice, Eze and Monaco. Compagnie Lignes d'Azur operates the bus line 112: Nice Bus Station - Eze Village - Monte-Carlo/Roqueville - Monte-Carlo/la Crémaillère - Eze Village - Nice Bus Station. Buses operate from 7 AM to 7 PM every one hour 40 minutes. Line 82 connects directly Nice and Eze Village (ticket cost is €4 per person, seven buses every day from 6:40 AM weekdays and 8:30 AM holidays ); line 83 connects Eze bord de Mer railway station and Eze Village (with buses every hour from 9:20 AM). For more details on schedule and ticket prices visit Compagnie Lignes d'Azur web site.
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Best Time To Go
All year round. If you like beaches and sun then summer is the best time.
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Where To Stay
- Château Eza (rue de la Pise, 06360 Eze, France), a five-star hotel with rates from €400.00 to €1,200.00 (high season) including VAT and service charge. City tax €1,50 per person per night is separate. The hotel is located in Eze village and has 11 rooms. It is a former (400 year-old residence) of a Swedish prince. The hotel was featured on Discovery Channel in Samantha Brown European trip.
- Chateau de la Chevre d'or (rue du Barri, 06360 Eze, France), a five-star hotel with prices from €340 to €2900. Located in the village of Eze. The hotel has 30 rooms, 6 Suites and 1 Presidential suite in the hotel.
- Eza Vista (244 avenue de Verdun 06360 Eze, France),a four-star hotel. Rates are from €100 to €210. Located at the entrance to the medieval village of Eze.
Research and book hotels in or near Eze, France
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Sightseeing, swimming, any beach activities including water sports; helicopter rides. Sightseeing often includes Eze's two perfumeries, Fragonard and Galimard.
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Useful Visitor Information and Tips
There are two Ezes. There is a village on the top of the hill called Eze Village and there is the sea-side place called Eze Bord de Mer (or Eze sur Mer) on the Basse Corniche road with the railway station. The connection between Eze-sur-Mer and the village is via the Chemin de la Mer footpath, which is long and steep. It is about one hour up and 45 minutes down.
The old medieval village is entirely pedestrian. The winding, narrow streets are steep and demand caution on rainy days when they become very slippery.
Eze is a great place to spend a few hours while your cruise ship is docked along the French Riviera in Cannes or Nice or in the Monaco harbor. Cruise ship shore excursions to Eze are usually scheduled for half a day.
The two perfumeries, Fragonard and Galimard are just about a couple of blocks from the bus stop and entry to Eze. During the visit, you can have a unique experience of creating your own fragrance with the help of experts and learn the secrets of perfumers. Both shops organize guided tours for groups and individuals in all European languages. Fragonard open every day, including Sundays and holidays from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM (except from 12th of November to 14th of January). Galimard opened every day except the 25th of December and 1st of January all year round from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
You can visit the ruins of Eze fortress with the medieval town walls still intact.
The Jardin exotique d'Èze is located on the site of Eze fortress ruins, on the slope of the hill falling over 1,401 feet (427 meters) to the cost line with more than 400 types of exotic plants. Opening hours:
- Winter: from 9:00 AM to 5 PM
- Summer: from 9 AM to 8 PM
Entrance fees: adults - €5, students - €2.50, children - €1.00.
Though there are few violent crimes in France and Monaco you should be vigilant of purse snatching and pick-pocketing. Thefts from cars stopped at red lights are common in Provence and the Côte d’Azur. Keep car doors locked at all times to prevent "snatch and grab" thefts. Break-ins of parked cars are frequent, so don’t leave your valuables in a car. Avoid locking valuables in the trunk. Thieves often target vehicles with foreign license plates or rental cars identified by their license plates or by stickers on the vehicle.
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