While the glamor and beauty of Monte Carlo, Nice, Cannes and St. Tropez still steal much of Riviera’s bravado, this region is also home to quieter, more authentic (like medieval authentic) destinations that make an impressive addition to anyone’s French Riviera itinerary.
These cobblestone villages are perched on craggy cliffs (back in Antiquity, steeper sites were reputed to be safer), with a maze of winding narrow pathways, surrounded by drop-dead gorgeous backdrops that offer way too many Kodak moments.
If it wasn’t for the recommendation of our gracious B&B hosts at La Bergerie we probably would have missed them. And, as it turned out, both Saint-Paul de Vence and Èze were the highlight of our Côte d’Azur 4-day stay.
Visuals trump text any day, so here’s a taste of these two lovely destinations, Saint-Paul de Vence and Èze, hidden treasures of Côte d’Azur.
Saint-Paul de Vence
This art infused village sits protected in its fortified rampart high above the hills of Nice. Most of the 16th century fortress remains in tact boasting medieval architecture, charming stone houses, narrow streets with shops, and restaurants. Saint-Paul de Vence has secured its reputation as the hub of the arts and culture in the French Riviera and a large number of art galleries showcase their work here. So there’s plenty to look at.
(Click images to enlarge)
The main attraction to Èze is the thousand-year-old medieval village that showcases its million-dollar view. Sitting 400 meters above the Mediterranean it boasts the most stunning panorama in all of the Riviera. (I actually think it rivals Amalfi). For the best vantage point I encourage you to visit Château Èze. Grab a table at their outdoor terrace, relax with a Compari and soak up the picture-perfect landscape (I dare you not to take a selfie or two).
But with this elevation comes a lot of steep climbing, so wear appropriate footwear. But you’ll have fun camera-clicking your way through the village with its stone houses, winding lanes with plenty of galleries, shops and restaurants.
There’s no doubt that Èze is one of the most enchanting locations this couple has had the pleasure to visit. We’re so glad we found it.
Photographs by Murray Sye: The top featured image was taken from the terrace at Château Èze during the ‘golden hour’ (after two Negroni’s). All other images are a random collection. If you would like a copy of any of his photographs, you can reach out to Murray in the ‘Comments’ section below.