My other-half booked a “Trichlore” trip. The aim was to visit three countries over the course of one short weekend. Based in Nice, we would have excursions along the coast using the excellent rail network. We would visit Eze in France, Monte Carlo in Monaco and Ventimillia in Italy. It was a trip of surprising contrasts and where equally striking comparisons were to be made.
After spending the previous day exploring Nice, we set out towards the station primed after a leisurely breakfast; a veritable carbohydrate-fest of bread and croissant from a local cafe. It’s a short hop from Nice to the railway station at Eze sur Mer. The picturesque village of Eze lies upwards from the station around 2 kilometers away. A little plaque on the north exit of the railway station points the way. The village itself is also accessible from a number of directions (as this excellent blog suggests https://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-osullivan/eze-a-must-visit-when-in-_b_10315164.html
We opted for the scramble uphill using the Nietzsche Path. Nietzsche was the philosopher behind those snappy motivational sayings, including the uplifting; “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering” and the equally comforting; “Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man”. He lived in one of the oldest houses of Eze for a period of time and found some degree of inspiration here. However, it was certainly hard to imagine that hyper-intense, Germanic loon taking an evening stroll and finding pleasure in this most serene of locations. Muttering “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” we headed upwards on the steep path that bears his name. After 10 minutes we were quickly access to good views of the adjacent wooded hill sides. It is a very picturesque upwards tramp that climbs fairly rapidly. In 40 minutes we emerged just below the village and its distinctive orange coloured church.
The village of Eze is tightly coiled. The medieval maze of alleyways is wound around a discrete hill. The pathways spiral upwards to its crowning gardens. Although often said to be overlooked and underrated the village appears well scrubbed and excessively tourist friendly. The buildings are given over to restaurants, boutiques and galleries and the dominant language is American English.
The pathway goes onwards up to the Jardin Exotique d’Eze sitting on its lofty perch. In this elevated position the Garden feels like you are almost floating, disconnected above the landscape. It has wide panoramic views along the Cote d’Azur coastline. The garden paths lead you through terraces dominated by primeval looking cacti and succulents from around the globe. Many of these plants were flowering providing bright dashes of intense colour. The garden was created after World War II and was the vision of the village major of the time; Andre Granton with the help from Jean Gaslaud father of the exotic garden in Monaco. The top of the hill is marked by a heavily ruined chateau, of which little remains except a couple of the walls. The chataeu was destroyed on the orders of Lois XIV in 1706 during the Spanish War of Succession; it provides a classically romantic touch to the Garden. The Garden is also dotted with a number of elegant feminine statues by the sculptor, Jean-Phillipe Richard. Richard is a self-taught sculptor that works without model. The sculpture have a form of something that is about to take flight.
The first vibrant, colourful band of our trichlore trip was now complete. Hustling back down our trail we were back in Eze Sur Mer in forty minutes. Plans for a train back into Nice were sabotaged by an ongoing SNCF strike action. Frustrated we jumped on the 100 bus and in forty minutes we were back in Nice Port. A walk back around the headland presented us with the full sweep of the beach at Nice.
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