"Eze ~ Medieval French Village Shines Like A Jewel" Top 5 Page for this destination Éze by starship
Éze Travel Guide: 207 reviews and 645 photos
Eze must be one of the most unique medieval villages in France! From its perch high above the sea, the panoramic views down to the Mediterranean from the mountainous crest of the village are simply breathtaking!!
This beautiful European coastline of the Mediterranean is dotted with gorgeous towns and villages like pearls strung on a necklace. Each one just as beautiful as the next. Eze is happily situated only 10 minutes from two other jewels in the crown of the Cote d'Azure --Nice and Monaco!! But Eze is quite unique -- much of the village winds around the steep Mt. Bastide which is over 500 feet above sea level. Narrow stone pathways climb higher and higher until reaching the summit where the Le Jardin Exotique commands a view of all that is below it. The stone and rock buildings are topped by terracotta tile roofs; passages are punctuated by heavy wooden doorways, flowering vines, cacti, and greenery; hand-painted wooden signs announce shops, hotels and restaurants; and wrought-iron lanterns light the way in evening for the unaccustomed visitor. This lofty village of Eze drips which charm.
While we were enthralled with Eze, the "Ezasques" themselves seem to take all their visitors in stride. The summer crowds must make life difficult for this tiny village, especially when crowds arrive by motorbus. An officer on the street was obviously irritated as he blew his whistle at our bus, and had heated words with our bus driver. In turn our bus driver was obviously agitated by the unwarranted rudeness of the officer. There's no doubt that Eze is probably strained to accommodate all who wish to see it, even more so since the "Travel Channel's Samantha Brown" brought a hightened awareness of it's physical charm to the uninitiated like myself! But along with the tourists comes money---don't welcome the money if you don't welcome the tourists!!
The village of Eze, much like Monaco, is spread over 3 levels of terrain and is traversed by the three main roads or "corniches": lower, middle and upper corniche. I believe we arrived on the "moyenne" or middle corniche to see the Village of Eze and our stop was much too brief---we were able to cover only some of the scenic, narrow stone walkways & passages on the mountain; a very few minutes to pick out some postcards; and made a short visit to the Tourist Info. Center. Unfortunately, there was not a great selection of printed information there for us.
Besides the admittedly alluring physical charms of the Village of Eze which are substantial, be sure to partake of its other pleasures. If time permits, stop at a sidewalk cafe for a good French meal; have a coffee while you absorb the views of the Mediterranean; take home a handmade craft (tiles, ceramics, blown glass) from one of the many shops tucked in along the narrow, winding pathways. Don't forget to visit the tiny Musee d'Eze in the upper village; the church and clock tower; the castle ruins and for us girls, especially the perfume shops!!
If at all possible, linger in the village and try to absorb its very unique atmosphere. Life is, as you would guess, much different than in the larger cities of Europe; life seems to move at a slower pace, and no one seems in a hurry. Life is "matter of fact." Truth be told, we saw far more tourists here than native French so other than the altercation our bus driver had with the traffic police, and the scant help we had at the tourist info. office, we had little contact with Eze's inhabitants, the Ezasques!! Quel dommage!
Printed official information relating the history of Eze claims that the inhabitation on Mount Bastide dates from 2000 BC and the Neolithic Era. During the Iron Age the area was populated by the Celto-Ligurians who began building with stone on Mount Bastide as you can see the ruins which are preserved there today.
As in all of history, the history of Eze is one of settlement, occupation, expellment and resettlement. The city was once home of the Romans (the village was noted by Antonine), who were invaded by the Moors, who were expelled by William of Provence.
The accompanying picture shows the plaque attached to the "Porte des Maures" or "The Moors Gateway." It reads: "The Moors passed through this gateway to invade the village in the year 900, at a time when they were busy laying waste the whole of Provence and Liguria. They occupied the village for more than seventy years until its liberation by William I, Count of Provence. According to tradition, the settlement in Eze came under the authority of their Fraxinet fortress near San Tropez."
The House of Savoy took over in 1388 and improved the village's fortifications and made modifications to the castle, which had been built in the 12th century, adapting it to artillery. The village changed hands many times over coming under the rule of the Turks, Spanish, and finally the French and from that point remained part of France as it is today.
- Pros:Dripping with charm; spectacular sea views; very unique!
- Cons:Steep uphill climb; traffic; can be overcrowded; traffic cops!
After spending time marveling at the beauty of the village of Eze on Mt. Bastide, and then stopping to buy postcards by... more travel advice
The inhabitants of "Haute" Eze or the Village of Eze had moved to this higher ground for safety and to thwart invaders.... more travel advice
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