It had been years since I had last visited Eze. A recent visitor to Villa Ndio passed through there and reminded me of the incredible views from its sky high jardin exotique. So early in September Kathy and I took some old friends there. It was less than a hour’s drive in two cars for the eight of us. We exited the autoroute ramp shared by Eze and Monaco and found the public parking lot at the base of Eze Village some 3 kilometres later.
It is a steep hike to the top, through winding narrow passages filled with boutiques, art studios and eateries. With each twist, turn and stair climb one sees beautiful views of the mountains, coastline and sea. Many of the shops are dripping with souvenirs, curios and provençale fare. Items found in these shops include figurines, articles made from olive tree wood, regional herbs and spices, puppets on strings, perfumes, porcelain and other products found famously on the French Riviera and its environs.
Art studios display dazzling work of local artists. Many of the pieces depict scenes in or from Eze; breathtaking panoramas and quaint village scenes.
Climbing further one comes to the entrance for the jardin exotique, where six euros buys you a ticket to the top of the world. As one climbs the terrain becomes more narrow and the panoramas are full circle. On all sides of the hilltop one finds a wide variety of succulents competing with figurine statuary.
At the top there is a wide platform from which one can see in all directions, over to the alps, over to Monaco, down to the inlets and small bays where cruise ships come to call and where luxury yachts moor.
We’ll be returning with more frequency in the coming months and years.