Eze is magical, and if you go to France’s spectacular Côte d’Azur (aka “French Riviera”), the village of Eze should be one of your top 5 must-do outings! We first discovered Eze during a 3-week family vacation on the Côte in 2013 … an instant coup de foudre!
So naturally, this year’s family vacation once again on the Côte simply had to include a return to Eze! Why the fascination with Eze? …
The village has quite a history, not to mention reputation, and it’s charm is intense and pervasive. Just imagine … million dollar views over the Mediterranean, gastronomic food in magnificent surroundings, and charming shops and galleries inviting you to enter. Some like to meditate to achieve inner balance and harmony. My husband and I prefer breath-taking views and a chilled rosé — a Bellet is the perfect choice here on the Côte. And we can sit and sip for hours, admiring the views of the Mediterranean all the way from St. Jean Cap Ferrat to Villefranche. Add a perfectly divine meal, and we are truly in heaven.
But more on Eze … a Medieval “village perché”, Eze is considered to be the most picturesque of the 13 villages perched on hillsides and cliff-tops on the Côte d’Azur. Its history dates back to circa 2000BC when archeological evidence indicates that the first settlers arrived. Fast forward, and history records that the House of Savoie fortified Eze in the late 14th century as a strategic location. This fortification, along with the town’s imposing position at the top of the steep cliff plunging down to the Mediterranean, make for an awesome first impression as you come up the hillside and Eze first appears in its full majestic splendor.
Now with the stage set for a charming walk back into history … you will not be disappointed when you enter Eze and explore the village’s narrow, cobblestone streets, studded with interesting art galleries and boutiques. Personally, while I love to admire the work of local artists and shop for artisanal products, what I really enjoy more than the shopping in Eze is taking that charming walk back in history as I explore the well-preserved Medieval dwellings and stop for a breath-taking view at every twist and turn in the narrow streets. Meanwhile, my husband is inseparable from his camera since most every nook and cranny has great photographic appeal.
But so much for history — this is France, where a memorable visit includes a memorable meal! So, not too surprisingly, there are 2 luxury hotels in Eze, each with a Michelin starred restaurant. After savoring a delicious lunch at Chateau Eza in 2013 (see our blog article Chateau Eza, Gastronomy on the top of a cliff! ), we decided this time to visit Le Château de la Chèvre d’Or, a Relais et Château property.
Thirsty and a bit tired after our climb, we chose to start with drinks on the terrace just beyond the bar, enjoying views of both the Mediterranean and the perfectly tended gardens of the Château. Beautifully landscaped and dotted with charming sculptures, these gardens are a living work of art, but I’m sure you will understand if I say our focus was drawn more to the impressive collection of mega-yachts far down the steep cliff-side in the sea below.
Fully refreshed after our drinks and flush with daydreams of cruising the Mediterranean, we moved onto Les Remparts for lunch where we spent several memorable hours savoring our three-course lunch as we continued to enjoy those million-dollar Mediterranean views.
Our favorites dishes were the Ravioli stuffed with Duck Foie Gras in a light Parmesan Cream Sauce with artichoke … simply sinful! … and the Riviera Eggplant and fresh Vegetables platter seasoned with Vinegar, Honey and Lemon … truly a work of art with layers of flavor.
Since Les Remparts invites its guests to select their own garnish to accompany the main course, we chose Sauteed Vegetables, Creamy Polenta and “Panisse”, the name for the local specialty of fried chickpea flour cakes. All were absolutely delicious.
And the dessert tray — which had caught our collective attention when we had entered the restaurant — was a masterpiece that pleased the eye as well as the palette.
After our long, leisurely lunch, we were offered a guided tour of Le Château. Situated in a medieval castle which was impressively remodeled in the 1920’s and recently updated, Le Château de la Chevre d’Or features several restaurants. Their 2 star Michelin restaurant, La Chèvre d’Or, is perched at the top of the property with walls of windows offering truly magnificent views of the Mediterranean below from every corner of the restaurant. Weather permitting, their more casual Les Remparts offers outdoor dining at its finest for lunch only from April until October on the Château’s covered terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. For dinner, guests can enjoy al fresco dining from April until October at the casual and comfortable Eden restaurant. Finally, for those seeking a lighter option café style, there is the Café du Jardin open form noon until 6pm with a spectacular view over Cap Ferrat and the Mediterranean.
The guest suite we visited was renovated to showcase not just the awesome floor-to-ceiling window views of the Mediterranean seacoast, but also as much of the original Medieval structure as possible. Moreover, comfort and luxury were as integral to the design and decor as views of the sea below. We also admired the swimming pool perched at the edge of the cliff by the garden, and were impressed by the range of spa treatments and fitness offerings.
A multiple-award winning property, Le Château de La Chèvre d’Or offers the perfect weekend getaway, or a superbly luxurious base for visiting the Côte d’Azur, or just simply a marvelous lunch or dinner with sweeping views of the Mediterranean which combined with the charm of Medieval Eze will add up to a visit you will simply never forget.
On a clear day, it is said that visitors can enjoy 180 degree views of the Côte d’Azur coastline all the way from Italy to St. Tropez. Once you go to Eze and you enjoy these views and the seductive offerings of this historic “village perché”, you too will want to return again … and again.
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