The picturesque medieval village of Eze is perched high above the French Riviera coast. It’s renowned for its spectacular views, beautiful architecture, and as the home of French fragrance producers Fragonard and Galimard.
Many of our guests ask if it’s worth visiting Eze Village during their Nice vacation.
It can get busy during high season, but we highly recommend a day trip to Eze. In fact, it’s one of our top things to do on the French Riviera.
The village is set around 1,400 metres above sea-level in the municipal of Eze-sur-Mer, which stretches along the coast from Cap Roux to the Cabuel point. A visit to Eze is a half-day excursion from Nice and getting there is easy.
It’s a 25-minute drive or 40 minutes on the public bus (number 82) – which costs just 1.50 EUR! You can also catch a train from Gare de Nice Ville station direct to Eze-sur-Mer and catch the bus (number 112) up to the village. The train costs around 2.90 EUR.
If you are staying in Monaco, it’s just an 18-minute drive.
Eze is a pedestrian zone, so if you’re driving to Eze village you’ll head to the park at the bottom of the village. The bus also stops here.
Over the centuries Eze has been influenced by the Romans, Moors and the Royal House of Savoy. The village encircles the ruins of the original 12th-century castle, constructed by the House of Savoy.
Its strategic position above the coast meant that Eze was used as a fortified lookout to guard against the pirates who raided the coastline. However, in 1706 King Louis XIV disassembled the walls around the village.
Today, visitors still enter the village through the two look-out towers. And parts of the original structure that still exist are classified as historic monuments.
What to visit in Eze village
Eze is a small village, so once you arrive you won’t need more than a couple of hours to visit the local attractions. There is a tourist office in the centre of town if you want to find out more about what to visit and where to go.
It’s a pleasure to wander the maze of ancient cobbled streets, where archways open out to hidden shady courtyards with trickling fountains. However, visitors should note that the village is steeply set in the hillside, so it’s not ideal for visitors with walking restrictions.
One of the biggest attractions to visiting Eze village are the views.
Set high above the Cote d’Azur, you are afforded magnificent views to the sparkling Mediterranean. One of the best spots to head to is the Chateau Eza. The hotel has a pretty terrace where you can enjoy coffee and croissants, or lunch. The panoramic views are incredible, but the bill will be as steep as the climb up.
Another place to enjoy the views is the Jardin Exotique. Head up to the top of the village and you’ll reach it. From here you can enjoy views across the red-tiled roofs of the village down to the French Riviera and across to Monaco and Monte Carlo.
The view is worth the climb, plus you get to stroll through the pretty garden, abundant with tropical plants, citrus trees and regional Mediterranean cacti. The cost of entry to the Jardin Exotique costs is 6 Euros.
In the centre of Eze, stands the Chapelle de la Sainte Croix (Church of the Holy Cross). It’s the oldest building in the village, built in the 14th century on the remains of the original 12th-century church.
If you’re feeling energetic, we recommend hiking down from the village along Nietzsche’s footpath. The scenery is beautiful and it’s a lovely downhill walk. It will take you about an hour to reach the bottom. Before you catch the train or bus back you could visit Papaya beach to cool off after your hike. This is a lovely rocky beach with crystal clear water.
Visit a perfume factory
The local region is famous for its abundance of flowers, and perhaps the most famous reason to visit Exe is a tour of the renowned fragrance and soap producers, Fragonard and Galimard.
You’ll be able to discover how perfume is made and purchase their products. Guided tours are free and taken by a perfume specialist. Learn about the art of perfumery, from the process of extraction from the flower to being bottled. Tours last around one hour.
At Galimard, you can visit the traditional soap works and learn about the different stages of soap production. They will also take you around the laboratory where their latest perfumes are created. A visit to their museum is like a step back in time, where you can see the ancient bottles and tools used to create fragrances in the past.
Shopping in Eze village
Eze is home to many artists who sell their art in the galleries dotted around the village. If you’re lucky, you might be able to purchase an original piece signed by the artist. Many of the shops are cave-like, as they built into the cliff-face.
Aside from artisan wares, visitors can purchase aromatic spices and gourmet food products, fashion, antiques and of course perfume and soap! There are also many souvenir gift shops in Eze, which have sprung up to cater for cruise ship tourists.
We recommend you steer away from these.
Eze village restaurants
For a small village, Eze has a great selection of restaurants and eateries.
From high-end options, such as the two Michelin star restaurant, La Chèvre D’Or, Restaurant Le Mas Provençal, and the Chateau Eza, to more laid-back options, such as La Taverne d’Antan, Le Nid d’Aigle and Delí.
Don’t forget this is the French Riviera and Eze is a popular tourist destination, so prices tend to be on the higher side, and it’s recommended to check restaurant opening times and book beforehand if you want to eat in a specific restaurant during your visit.
If you are thinking of booking a vacation on the French Riviera, check out our beautiful Nice rental apartments.