Our Èze, France 1-day plan offers a step-by-step itinerary for visiting this idyllic hilltop medieval village in the French Riviera. We cover how to have the perfect day trip to Eze, including what to do, where to eat, and getting there from Monaco or Nice via the train or bus.
This charming Côte d’Azur commune is like a mix between stepping back in time and entering a fairytale village come to life. Like some other villages in Europe, Èze toes the line between time capsule and tourist trap. There’s a Disney-esque quality to the place, which is fitting since Lillian and Walt Disney famously stayed here. Eze is savvily commercialized and presented, but not in a cheap or tacky way. It really is the perfect marriage of a humble European village and a tourism operation, oozing charm and beauty in an enthralling setting.
Consequently, this picturesque village is more about being there than doing things. You could spend the entire day simply strolling the cobblestone streets, getting lost in the labyrinth of alleyways, popping in shops, admiring the architecture, and so on. As such, a strict itinerary for Eze is not as important as other cities in the French Riviera. However, there are a couple of exceptions to that where recommendations prove the key to success in experiencing Eze…
Our first recommendation for visiting Èze is taking the bus rather than the train. At first blush, the TER train might seem easier, especially if you’ve chosen a home base in the French Riviera convenient to one of the main station. However, the train station is down at the beach in Èze, and the bus from there up to the hilltop village can take a while–especially if you miss it.
Hiking up is an option, but it is steep and only recommended for those who are physically fit and don’t mind arriving at the village sweaty and tired. (As covered in the itinerary, we recommend hiking down when you’re done for a much more pleasant experience.)
Instead, consult Google Maps for bus options. There are direct buses from both Nice and Monaco, with the most common being the #82 bus. There are several others that operate along this route depending upon the day of the week and season, so definitely consult Google Maps.
Also, be sure to route to Eze Village–not Gare Eze or Eze Sur Mer. Those will take you to the train station, which requires a second bus to get up to the village.
Second, arrive as early as possible. While we did not find Eze to be overwhelmingly crowded at any point, it is popular with tour groups, and when waves of those come through, areas are busy and full of people. The village is not quite as picturesque with hordes of selfie stick-wielding tourists.
All of the photos in this post were taken either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, before and after the midday tour groups. Arriving early, doing a couple of meals, and staying late is a great option for a full-day itinerary. It’s completely possible to “do” all of Eze in a few hours, but we had an amazing day from morning until night here…
Wander – Start by simply getting lost in the fortified medieval village, exploring the random side streets, intimate alleyways, and more. Capture as many photos as possible (I had no problems filling up a memory card) of the morning light and shadows adding great depth and texture to the fortified facades of Eze.
There’s a visitor center near the bus stop that can provide a map of everything you need to see in Eze, but honestly, you don’t need that. So long as you spend a couple hours simply wandering, you’ll see it all–from the impressive Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption to Château Eza and Château de Chèvre d’or.
Jardin Exotique d’Eze – As you wander your way up through the medieval village, you’ll eventually arrive at the Jardin Exotique d’Eze, which is literally located on some of the old fortress ruins. This is an exquisite exotic garden–we’d rank it as the best in the French Riviera, and we visited a lot of gardens during our time in France.
In fairness, that #1 ranking is owing entirely to the views, which overlook the rooftops of the village below it, plus the Cote d’Azur coastline extending all the way to the Esterel Mountains and the Golf of Saint Tropez. In terms of plants, the Exotic Garden of Eze features numerous species of succulents and xerophytes, plus plants from the Mediterranean and from other humid regions.
Lunch – Mere steps below the Jardin Exotique d’Eze is our favorite restaurant for lunch: Deli. (We tested out a couple of options on this front and also really liked Le Nid d’Aigle.) Although the name “Deli” doesn’t conjure images of the Riviera, this restaurant is quintessentially French. From the al fresco seating to the menu, it’s all unbeatable. The highlight is definitely trying the various types of olive oil.
Other options include the restaurants at both Château Eza and Chateau de la Chèvre d’Or hotel. Neither of these had availability when we visited, and reservations are recommended as both are in high demand. The former has a beautiful terrace location, whereas the latter is a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Parfumerie Fragonard – L’usine Laboratoire Èze – Judging by the tour buses and groups, this is an incredibly popular spot in Eze. It’s a perfume, soap, and cosmetics factory that seems very strongly like an amalgamation of lavender and other flowery scents. Almost overwhelmingly so. (It’s nice…just a bit much!)
Nevertheless, the Fragonard factory and store is worth a visit to see its exhibits about perfume, including a factory equipped with modern laboratories and workshops. Tour guides speak English, and offer excellent info about the production process. And naturally, a sales pitch.
Grande Corniche State Park – If you enter this into Google Maps, you’ll see it’s a ~45 minute hike from the village up to a random observation platform within this park. If you’re a photographer looking for an iconic shot of Eze Village and the Mediterranean at sunset, this is well worth the effort.
Even if you’re not, this is arguably worth doing. Once you get about ~20 minutes up this trail (which is at first rather makeshift, cutting behind a couple of random buildings), the views start opening up and become incredibly gorgeous. You don’t need to venture all the way to the observation area for a stunning view–in fact, you’re probably better off only going halfway up.
Hike Down Nietzsche’s Path – It’s said that philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche hiked up this path every day, and it’s said that he had ideas and hallucinations (heat stroke?) that inspired his writing while hiking up this path. Which is why we’re hiking down it…
The meandering goat path takes an hour or more to climb up, and is sufficiently strenuous that you may not enjoy its beautiful views. At dusk, you’ll benefit from not having the scorching sun beating down on you while ambling down this winding route. It’s especially stunning with the fading embers of sunlight and cool glow of blue hour amplifying the ocean.
At the end of this satisfying stroll down Le Chemin de Nietzsche, you’ll arrive at Eze Sur Mer, just a short walk from the train station. Catch the TER and return back to your home base in the French Riviera!
If you’re planning, we recommend starting by consulting our Ultimate French Riviera Vacation Guide to prepare for all aspects of your trip. You should also check out our other posts about France for ideas on other places to visit!
Have you visited the village of Eze, France? If so, what did you do? What do you think of the recommendations in this itinerary? Anything else you’d suggest in terms of walks, things to do, or places to see? Restaurants you thought offered a great view, good drinks, or exceptional cuisine? Any additional tips to add that we didn’t cover? Any questions about planning a visit to the Côte d’Azur? Hearing from readers is half the fun, so please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!