Just a short distance from Nice, after a dramatic and spectacular drive along the Moyenne Corniche road that alone make the trip worthwhile, lies the charming medieval town of Eze.
At 470 metres above sea level, Ãˆze â€“ frequently referred to as the eagleâ€™s nest â€“ is a picture-perfect village perchÃ© (perched village), with breathtaking views down below to the beautiful coastline.
The charming streets and vaulted cover ways remind visitors of the original defensive purpose of these fortifications. The only danger of invasion Ãˆze faces today is from theÂ tourist onslaught during the summer season, but throughout much of its history, this pretty town was the subject of brutal attacks. The Moors invaded in the 10th century and stayed for 80 years. The â€œMoorish doorâ€ marking their entry survives to this day.Â In 1543 Ãˆze was invaded by the infamous Barbarossa and his Ottoman fleet.
For todayâ€™s visitor, the winding cobblestoned streets are a pleasure to explore. There is a pretty church and a dramatic cemetery overlooking the valleys below.
Ãˆze was a fashionable place to stay in the Belle Ã©poque. Artists, philosophers and European nobility all spent time in lovely Ãˆze at the turn of the 20th century. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche spent time here in 1883. There is a path named after him, where he was said to often hike, that leads down to the sea.
Unfortunately, the castle was destroyed in 1706 by order of King Louis XIV. Today, upon its ruins lies the pretty Jardin exotique (admission 3 euro, children free) with cacti from all over the world and unparalleled views over the coast.
Donâ€™t miss out on a trip to the eagleâ€™s nest – and the stunning views it affords -Â on your next visit to the French Riviera. Ãˆze is an easy day trip from Nice on frequent public buses. The number 82 leaves from Niceâ€™s bus station and makes the 20-minute trip to Ãˆze village. Alternatively you could stay in Eze.