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Hiking the Nietzsche Trail to Eze Village from the Seaside

We were on the French Riviera for a week, staying at a lovely apartment in Villefranche-sur-Mer, and one of the things on my to-do list was hiking the Nietzsche Trail to Eze Village.

There are many great things about the French Riviera, including the access to public transit, which makes arriving to Èze-sur-Mer by train or bus easy. With the train station and the sea at your back, head to the right (east) about 150-200 metres, and look for the sign for Èze Village: Chem. Frédéric Nietzsche. The sign marks the beginning of the hike.

Nietzsche Trail to Eze Village view

The Nietzsche Trail

The trail is mostly uphill from the road for about two (2) kilometres. It takes about one (1) hour, even with a few stops, to catch your breath or take some photos. There is a mix of shade, sun, paved parts, stairs and uneven ground, so good shoes are necessary. The views of the Mediterranean are beautiful along the way. It’s a great workout. Moving reasonably, we completed the trail in under 60 minutes.

Should I walk down? That question depends on many factors. During our walk up, we encountered several groups heading down. As mentioned, it is a mix of different terrain, so you must be careful about the descent. We did see people running in both directions, so if you are fit and wearing the appropriate footwear, go for it. Or explore lovely Èze Village instead and take the bus down.

Who was Nietzsche?

Friedrich Nietzsche (Frédéric Nietzsche is the French version of his name) was a German philosopher. He first visited the French Riviera in 1883, returning many times thereafter until 1888. His first stay in the area was several months, from December 1883 to April 1884. The sunny Côté d’Azur appears to have lifted the philosopher from a low mental state, revitalizing his creative energy. Many people find that regular exercise can be healthy and provide time for reflection. For Friedrich Nietzsche, that activity was walking. He walked along the Riviera and hiked up a trail to Èze Village from the sea. The surroundings and activity inspired him to compose the third part of his poetic work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None.

Nietzsche Trail Eze Village view

What to do in Eze Village?

The beautiful hilltop village of Eze (Èze) is not to be confused with its sister town, Èze-sur-Mer, located on the water. Worth noting is that many road signs still read the previous name, Èze bord de mer. Eze is a tiny perched village atop a hill roughly 430 metres above the Mediterranean coastline. Situated between Nice and Monaco, the town’s view is among the most stunning along the Côte d’Azur.

Eze has a long history of human settlement from before the Roman occupation. The most ancient part of the village is the remains of a 12th-century fortified castle – La Revere fort – destroyed in 1706. Due to its strategic location on the (now) Italian border, the hamlet was “traded” back and forth over several centuries by different rulers. The town became part of France in 1860.

One of 16 perched villages in the Alpes-Maritimes, Eze delivers a fabulous view from the “eagle’s nest,” a vertical drop to the sea. Today, the town has few permanent residents but plenty of visitors, making it more of a village-musée (living museum).

Visitor Guide to the Alpes Maritimes

Remarkable Mediterranean Gardens Coast Eze, Jardin exotique

©Côte d’Azur Tourisme

“Hanging” Garden

The botanical garden (Jardin Exotique d’Èze) should be on everyone’s list is one of the Jardins Remarquable of France. The plants include many succulents and cacti worth seeing. However, the panoramic view is by far the highlight. The garden is open daily, but the specific hours change, so please consult the website for details.

Eze Village Botanical Garden


Two of Provence’s top perfume houses from Grasse, Fragonard and Galimard, have boutiques and workshops in Eze. The  Fragonard boutique, factory, laboratory, and workshops are open daily, with free guided tours. Galimard’s perfume factory and historical museum are also open daily. There is a 45-minute tour which includes an introduction to the process that the “Nez” (nose) perfume maker follows.

Eze Village Eglise Notre-Dame de L’Assomption d’Eze

The Church

Eglise Notre-Dame de L’Assomption d’Eze dates from the 18th-century. Designed by Italian architect Antoine Spinelli, it was built on the foundations of a 12th-century church. The baroque architecture, square bell tower and distinctive ochre colour make this church highly visible from a distance. The church’s interior is filled with baroque-style trompe-l’oeil art.

Room with a View

La Chevre d’Or is a luxury hotel in Eze with an incredible garden. This Relais & Château property, with garden terraces that spill down the cliffside, provides its guests with spectacular views. Book a room at the hotel for an experience that promises nothing short of magical. However, if that is not within your travel budget, opt for lunch or a drink at Les Remparts or the Café du Jardin.

Château Eza is a 14-room boutique hotel with 5-star service. This property also delivers stunning views and acclaimed food in what was once a castle.

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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).

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