The clear blue water, hidden beaches and coves are not the only perks of the Côte d’Azur. The countryside around Nice is mountainous and hosts some of the most beautiful medieval hill villages in Europe. If you are planning a holiday in Nice and want to discover these gems of medieval architecture and enjoy day road trip away from the crowded beaches then here is our itinerary around 4 of our favourite villages perchés in the Alpes Maritimes.
Of all the medieval hill villages around Nice, Èze is the most touristy. If you are going in the middle of summer, it might be too crowded and you might not enjoy it as much. Instead prefer visiting the other 3 or some others that I am not listing here.
The road itself from Nice to Èze is a must do. In my opinion, the best road to go to Èze is the Moyenne Corniche, this is where you’ll get an amazing view on Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Once in Èze, park on the main car park and walk around the cobblestone streets, appreciate the numerous art galleries and designers shops.
Stop at the Chèvre d’Or restaurant to enjoy a drink and what is probably the best view on the mediterranean sea. As it is an expensive restaurant, we didn’t go for lunch but it is known as one the best restaurant in the area.
Once on the road from Èze to Peille you’ll start thinking you’re definitely not on the Côte d’Azur anymore, at least not the one you see in pictures. There is only narrow winding roads and steep white rocky cliffs. Not the type of road to drive a big RV on. Those of you who never tried driving on tiny french roads before brace yourself !
And you arrive in this quiet and remote medieval hill village that is Peille. This one is so much different than Èze. Èze is touristy and near the coast, Peille is the opposite. A truly authentic cobblestone streets medieval french village, in the middle of nowhere.
Peillon is rather similar to Peille, it has the same quiet and authentic atmosphere of a remote village. We particularly loved walking around the maze of hilly streets and steps. This is again a village you have to visit by foot, leaving your car at the main car park. The 11th century church is a beautiful example of religious architecture in Provence.
And finally you can end your day tour by visiting the quaint village of Falicon, before going back to Nice. It is said that Queen Victoria used to come to Falicon to enjoy a cup of tea. This village is worth a visit for its colourful houses and trompe l’oeil. Plus it offers majestic views on Nice and the Côte.
We spent the afternoon driving from village to village, walking around the steep cobblestone streets, enjoying the views, wondering what life is like there. It is a great day trip to take from Nice but you can easily add many other villages to this itinerary, like Aspremont, Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Vence, Sospel, Gorbio, Coaraze, etc…
Here is the itinerary on Maps, on which I also highlighted the other villages I didn’t list in this article. I need to go back to Nice to explore the rest !
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Have you visited these villages around Nice or want to ? Tell us in the comments below !