When I first went to the Côte d’Azur over fifteen years ago, I quickly realized which areas I loved and which areas I didn’t. I loved Saint Paul de Vence, Èze and St. Tropez. Notice I didn’t mention the big cities.
So when we went last month, I already had the “dream itinerary” in mind. We chose a hotel in cliffside old, medieval Èze. The Château de la Chèvre d’Or was our home base for several days, and it was magnificent. Here are the pros and cons.
- Absolutely stunning. The cliffside location gives you a dramatic view of the French Riviera. And the hotel itself boasts a Condé Nast-worthy photo opp at every turn.
- The old village of Èze is charming. You walk up, up, up these tiny nooks and crannies, and you’ll be rewarded with cute shops and astounding views.
- Peaceful setting in an otherwise busy region. After the tourists leave in the late afternoon, the village is magical. An evening stroll will transport you to another era, when people must’ve walked around the old stone buildings carrying lanterns and whispering secrets.
- The hotel has a knockout bar and a two-star Michelin restaurant.
- The rooms are individualized with elegant décor. We got an amazing complimentary upgrade to a suite featuring a panoramic sea view and a huge bathroom in the shape of a cave. I’ll say this over and over: if you speak decent French and are friendly (not loud or pushy), then you’ll get amazing customer service in France. (Believe it or not, some of my best customer service experiences were in Paris – from crazy room upgrades at five-star hotels to free boxes of chocolates from lovely staff at the famous café, Angelina.)
- Very friendly staff. The concierge was great and the valet guys were awesome. So helpful, cheerful and funny.
- An amazing cliffside garden with about 6 or 7 different levels with cool/eerie animal sculptures. One level had life-size giraffes, another had horses, another had crocodiles, etc.
- Pricey (but you definitely get what you pay for). The price fluctuates wildly depending on the season — our same room costs over a thousand during the peak season, but a few hundred as you get closer to colder weather.
- You’ll get a workout every time you step out of your room, whether you like it or not.
- Tourists crowd the town in the late morning through early afternoon, so the village loses some of its peaceful charm during those hours. But the early morning and evening are magical.
- Not too many restaurant choices in the village, esp if you want something other than French or Niçoise cuisine.
Finally, a BIG TIP for traveling in the region: avoid high season (late June – early Sept) at all costs. Low season (mid-late Sept to early October) is chill, but high season is exhausting and crowded. For fellow introverts who hate crowds, high season will be sheer misery. Go during the low season for maximum fun and great sun!