800 km – The mileage on our car for the journey. With my sister visiting for a short time in late July, we decided to leave UK for the Mediterranean sun. The idea of going to Southern France came up quite late in the planning. It was one of those things that came up when you were just browsing through some friends’ posts or news. Someone posted her itinerary on a page and was trying to find a…
travel buddy for her Southern France trip. We didn’t plan to go with a stranger so we researched the places ourselves and planned our own epic journey. It was suppose to be a 4-day trip. But realizing the geographical scope and distance, we had to extend it to 6 days. Even that was a bit rush and we didn’t manage to go to any wineries that we intended to visit (wineries had short opening hours and are open only for 4.5 days in a week). But we still managed to see a lot of places through our overused sunglasses on our four wheels.
Early morning at London Gatwick Airport. The kids and their luggages… cute!
I must say our itinerary for the 1st day was a bit crazy as we hopped from one city to another from the north of Nice to the south of Nice. Our first stop of the journey was Eze, a small town north of Nice and in between Nice and Monaco.
The drive from Nice Airport to Eze was the most scenic drive of our trip (there were also other scenic drives but this was one that really wow’ed us). We were so glad that the car came with a GPS because our GPS loaded iPad could not pick up any GPS signal at all in France!
We arrived at Eze after 40 minutes of win
Eze is a small medieval village sitting on a hilltop. Bus and train only take you to the bottom of the hill and you have to make your own way up to the village. If you drive, there are parking lots right by the “entrance” to the village so that was much less walking for us. However, parking could be challenging as the spaces are quite limited and we found the side of our car dented after we came back to the parking lot (apparently someone must have backed into it..). That was a big BOOOO!!!
There are lots of small shops and artist studios in this small village.
Chateau Eza – the former residence of Prince William of Sweden from 1923-1953. It’s now a 5-star hotel. The ground floors that are now artists’ studio and shops used to be wine cellars and stables. There are lots of exotic plants here as well. There’s also a garden with exotic plants (Jardin Exotique). But you need to pay an entry fee.
According to the tale that golden goats could “make intruders lose their way when trying to steal the castle treasures”, a chateau here (Chateau de la Chevre d’or) named itself after the golden goat.
Inside Church Notre-Dame-de L’Assomption, a church that was built in 1764 and consecrated in 1882. Close scrutiny of the details of the church shows that some parts have shown their age and rustiness. But this church gives people a sense of “coziness”. The flowers down the aisle make it looks like there was a wedding here.
There are no space for cars in this small medieval town. Even the roads are quite narrow and covered by uneven cobble stones.
A walk through the narrow alleys is a pleasant experience as you may discover some surprise at different turns along the way.
Just a random photos shot of the street on our way out of the town. Just want to mention that Eze also has many scenic restaurants and 5-star hotels (very small + boutique). In general, there are not that cheap. But they offer very nice views.
Eze is the kind of place where you can spend some leisure time to enjoy the peace, the sunshine and the ocean. Walt Disney is said to have spent a lot of his time here.
Fragonard has a shop in the village and a “Laboratory”/Factory around the area as well (lower area of the hill). There’s a large parking lot at the factory so we decided to drive to the factory instead.
So it happened that there was a Ferrari event outside of the Fragonard factory.
Overlooking Eze from the Fragonard factory.
Fragonard is one of the oldest and most famous perfumeries in France. Their main operation is in Grasse (the capital of perfume-making that I’ll mention in another post). It was said that Fragonard was the company that manufactured the early Chanel’s No. 5 perfume as jasmine, the main ingredient in that perfume, was only largely available in Grasse.
A free guided tour of the “laboratory”, simple R&D and assembly line at the factory in Eze gave us some insight into soap and perfume making.
The soap molds and the finished products. Fragonard nowadays also make their own brand perfume and cosmetic products. After the tour, we went to their shop and got a few nice bars of soap.
This trip related posts:
1. [ Southern France ] The Petit Jewels – Eze
2. [ Southern France ] The Petit Jewels – Villefranche sur Mer & Antibes
3. [ Southern France ] The Capital of Perfume – Grasse
4. [ Southern France ] Savon de Marseille
5. [ Southern France ] The L’Occitane Factory – Manosque
6. [ Southern France ] Roussillon – The Red Village
7. [ Southern France ] An Afternoon in Gordes and enroute to Avignon
8. [ Southern France ] Avignon – The City of Popes
9. [ Southern France ] Enroute to Cannes
10. [ Southern France ] All the Glamour of Cannes and Boutique Hotel
11. [ Southern France ] Monaco – The Rich and the Riches
12. [ Southern France ] Nice – The Alpes-Maritimes Capital