For an entirely different view of the Mer, I highly recommend taking The “Chemin de Nietzsche” a steep, rocky trail that takes you from the sea to the sky. The start of this trail is right by the apartment we lived in while staying in Eze Bord de Mer, so we navigated this route frequently during our stay.
If you are in good shape and walking at a steady pace, you can make it up to Eze Village in 45 minutes, where you will be rewarded with views such as this one from the patio at Chateau Eza, looking down on Eze Bord de Mer and out west to Cap Ferrat and Nice.
I love this hike because it reminds me of what really makes this part of the world so spectacular, it is where the Alps meet the Med, and the craggy, rugged hills are such an intense contrast the velvety blue Mediterranean. I believe this dramatic geographical situation is the foundation to the incredible views and environments that are available here.
Like most of the impressive hikes throughout France, this one is maintained, with stone steps built in many sections to help one to reach the higher ground. Along the way you may see wild flowers amongst the shrubbery, views of exclusive mansions and perhaps a few butterflies. Be sure to wear sturdy tennis shoes, sunscreen and bring a large bottle of water and a hiking stick if you can find one. This is somewhat of a mecca for many, we were often be stopped and asked where to find the trail head in a variety of accents and languages. If you don’t feel like walking up, you can take the bus up to the top (the stop is right by the Eze train station) and then walk down after exploring the art galleries, shops and views in Eze Village (the Medieval hilltown).
There are a few restaurants there, but aside from the very formal dining at Chateau Eza and Chèvre d’Or, we didn’t find many remarkable meals. Instead, I’d suggest you plan on lunching when you get back down, at the edge of the sea (read on).
The trail is named after the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who lived on the French Riviera beginning in 1883. He was known to regularly take this path from the seashore to “the wonderful Moorish village of Eza, built among the rocks”. It was here where he composed the third part of his work “Ainsi Parlait Zarathoustra”. Or “Thus spoke Zarathoustra”, from which you could borrow his mantra “You are treading your path of greatness: no one shall steal after you here” if the going gets tough on the trail.
On the way down you can stop into the Fragonard perfume factory to take a tour or just visit the gift shop to sample some of the scents or pick up a few bottles to bring home, Belle Nuit is my all time favorite scent from Fragonard. Many times when we were hiking up we were treated to the scent of roses that must have been being distilled at the factory.
Once you make it down to the main road, I highly recommend you go to my favorite beach club, The Anjuna, for one of the most delightful and relaxing dining situations ever, right on the edge of the sea. Enjoy the herb scented Nicoise olives they bring to the table with a glass of rosé.
And then, maybe one of my favorite dishes, which is the poached white fish served with a creamy, garlicky aioli,
plenty of steamed vegetables, a boiled egg and even a few snails, this is sort of a single serving version of Le Grande Aioli.
The Anjuna is a little tricky to find, if you get to the bottom of the trail, you can cross the street, and then the railroad tracks by the Eze train station to make your way to the rocky beach, when you get on the beach turn to the right (West) and walk until you see the Papaya Beach club (also very good and very fun) and then Anjuna. DO NOT turn to the left, unless you want to join in the fun at the “Naturist” (nude) beach to the east.
This section of the Riviera is covered with big, round rocks and they are a little hard to walk on. You may find it easier to turn to the right at the base of the trail and walk on the road for a couple of blocks until you see this sign on the sea side of the road. When you get here you should be able to find arrows to a tunnel that is on the north side of the road, the tunnel will allow you to walk under the road and out to the beach, when you get to the beach turn right, and Papaya and Anjuna are near.
I hope you are having some interesting explorations wherever the roads are leading you this summer.