Thursday, November 12, 2015

Èze Village, France

Actual date of this event: 5 May

We woke up on May 5, our last full day in Nice, with a decision to make: Do we take a short bus/train ride to get a day at the beach in Villefranche-sur-Mer? Do we hop on the train to check out what's supposed to be a beautiful inland artsy town in St Paul de Vence? Do we take the hour long bus ride to what is supposed to be a must visit although less visited, Eze Village? After seeing the weather for the day, we decided against the beach due to a cloudy forecast. So then it was between Eze Village and St Paul de Vence. Given we are not artsy folks, and we were about to head inland for a few days, we decided to stay along the coast and go to Eze Village. I'm pretty sure that May 5, 2015 was the closest I have ever been to heaven. 
The important details: In Nice, we took the tram to the Vauban bus stop, where we then took Bus #82, but #112 is also possible. Do NOT take Bus #100, which goes to Eze-sur-Mer (at the bottom of the mountain), not Eze Village (at the top of the mountain), unless of course you want to hike up a mountain (also, do NOT take the train for the same reason). Very few people were on the bus with us, and it was pretty obvious once we got there that it was time for us to get off (the bus continued on afterward). Before getting off the bus, we passed a long and tall road bridge over a valley with a nice view out to the sea. We had no idea at this point what was to come.
Still being clueless, we followed signs up into the village. Located on top of what seemed to be a big rock on top of a mountain high above the sea, Eze Village is a .... an indescribable place. Really, I don't know how to explain it. We walked and wandered and were both silent because we were taking it all in. First taste of heaven. 

We came upon a blocked off area to a garden. It was €6 to go in, and we debated what to do. Would it be worth it? We took the risk, and YES it was worth it! The garden was neat with different plants from all over the world. But the best part of it was the view. WOW! Second taste of heaven.

While in the garden, we saw a spot with a terrace and some tables, so then we were on a mission to find this place. Chateau Eza is a hotel with a restaurant that overlook the sea. We stopped for an expensive drink, but unfortunately placed in a spot where we didn't have a wonderful view. It was relaxing anyway, so we were happy to be there. Third taste of heaven. Then, we walked around a little bit, passing the same few "streets", and just enjoyed the uniqueness of the village. We looped back around to a snack bar hidden under some trees and stopped there for another drink which turned into a 0.5L of wine and several beers. Fourth taste of heaven.

Rather than figuring out the bus back to Nice, we decided to do the hike down to Eze-sur-Mer where the train station is. We stopped into a grocery store to get some water and an obligatory baguette before beginning our hike.
Luke and I were totally wearing the correct footwear for this hike. Not! The pathway down consisted of several uneven stairs and a rocky and gravel path. Oops! It all ended up fine, but we somehow always manage to not have appropriate shoes while hiking (see Cinque Terre). It was a long walk down, about 45min, with beautiful views along the way. Oddly, we saw several people hiking UP the mountain. And not hikers. These were normal people, some of them alone, wearing normal clothes, like jeans, jackets and ballet flats, as if they were going to work... or da club. Yikes! 

We eventually reached the bottom where the Eze-sur-Mer train station is located. It was so strange to look up at the mountain and not see the village we just walked from! Sadly, our time in heaven was over as we hopped on the train back to Nice. To this day, after all of our travels, Luke and I still talk about escaping back to Eze Village - in our top five destinations, for sure! What an amazing experience we had! If you are headed to Eze anytime soon, can you please take me with you? Thanks :-)

More from the South of France: IntroNiceAntibesMonacoEze VillageAvignonPope's Palace & Pont d'AvignonPont du GardBuissonSt. RemyLes BauxArlesNîmes

Eze Village is located 427 meters (1,401 feet) above sea level.

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