Eze village is one of the most incredible and notorious villages on the French Riviera's stretch of coastline. Perched atop the mountain like a stone, it appears as if it could drop into the sea without a moments notice. An ancient site, the intrigue of this village is how little it has changed through the ages.
The earliest traces of human occupation date back to neolithic era around 2000BC. There remains evidence of 'castellaras', a type of stone dwelling, on Mont Bastide which lies at 567 m above sea level.
The entire area was known to have been occupied by Romans as they spread through Gaul en route to the conquering of Europe but little is known about how the name of the village came about or by whom.
It is possible that the name Eze came about during this era when the Romans marched across this land especially as Emperor Antonin Pius mentions the area in the course of his maritime route and may be deriving from the Port Avisio / Avisionis in the bay of St Laurent de Eze.
WHAT'S IN A NAME
However, oral legend also suggests that the Phoenicians erected a temple in Eze to honour the Goddess Isis which may have inspired the name but ultimately, where 'Eze' came from, remains something of a mystery.
Eze bord de mer was no doubt a stop on the ancient Roman salt route and it was a location that provided shelter and respite for travellers and residents as it was a site for the traditional Roman baths that were popular at the time.
Eze and the immediate surround suffered the same fate as the rest of the region during the middle ages when a period of immense unrest gripped the entire coast. The fragmented villages and small local tribes were subjected to constant attacks and raids by a variety of enemies, Moors, Barbarians, Visigoths.
It was during this era that the villages, now considered picturesque, took shape, perched as they were in the most unlikeliest of settlements.
By building the villages on the top of the steepest hills, clustered together behind dense walls and huddles along narrow streets the towns became defensible with clear views and difficult tracks it was nearly impossible to penetrate the walls.
The pretty atmospheric towns that we admire so much today were defensive fortified strongholds born out of a necessity for survival. Strolling through the cobbled streets ponder for a moment if our predecessors were able to take as much pleasure from the views.
|Life was very difficult for the people of the time as they coped with invasion, threat and the everyday struggle to stay alive and feed themselves. |
It was dangerous for people live outside the protective walls of their towns and the coast would have been the most dangerous area so it was relatively lost for generations until order and relative safety was restored.
During the renaissance period, Eze was populated by the ruling families from Genoa who brought the region under their protectorate in the middle ages.
The late 1800's saw the tourist boom begin on the French Riviera and Eze became a popular escape for people in Nice. The beach front, shaded by pine trees, was easily accessible by rail and carriage and was a pretty respite from a crowded Nice.
Travel was the premise of only the wealthiest people, royalty, nobles and politicians during this time.
If you are interested in renting a holiday home, villa or apartment in Eze for your summer holidays then please browse through the holiday lets that we have available. Luxury apartments, five star villas and charming beach front rentals can all be found on our site.