The French Riviera: Our Visit to Eze and Monaco

View from the top of Eze

We’ve been spending time on the French Riviera, which has been a good trip so far. There’s so much allure to this region, with celebrities visiting and glamorous people shopping and touring. After our visit, though, we’re starting to wonder if it’s all it’s cracked up to be. Still, we’ve enjoyed the trip for the most part. Today we visited the towns of Eze & Monaco.

Getting Lost in Eze

The ancient village of Eze lies on a rock 1,400 feet above sea level. It centers on the ruins of a 14th century castle. The maze-like, narrow streets are home to some small art shops and restaurants. We found ourselves lost a few times in search of the castle that eventually gave us quite a site over the water and St. Jean-Cap Ferrat. The Jardin Exotique surrounds the castle ruins and consists of different cacti, citrus trees, and tropical plants.

Eze was by far our favorite stop out of the French towns that we visited.

Our Visit to the Famous Monte Carlo Casino

Our last stop on the French Riviera was to the second smallest country in the world, Monaco (Vatican City is the first). Of course our first stop here had to be the Monte Carlo Casino.

At first site, this casino dominates the view from far away, with beautiful fountains and gardens leading up to it. Before we even went into the casino, we spent 20 minutes watching the parade of fancy cars line up, which was a spectacle in itself. 

The architecture and decor of the building is stunning and beautiful. If you’re expecting to have a James Bond-like experience though, you will be disappointed. It was basically heaving with tourists and was not very glamorous at all. We had thought about dressing up, but decided not to after doing some research (and I’m glad we didn’t!). There is a dress code at night, but nothing as elegant as we would have thought.

We wanted to gamble here, but didn’t because there were only two roulette tables open, plus slot machines, neither of which piqued our interest. We gambled in Nice, so all was not lost (except for our money). Overall, there wasn’t too much atmosphere in the casino, but the building was gorgeous to look at.

The Overall Verdict

Overall, we’re glad we visited this region, but we don’t feel a need to come back again, at least in the near future. While we had a great time in Nice, Cannes, Eze, & Monaco, we don’t see what all of the fuss is about. Cannes was unimpressive and stuffy, and Monaco is good for a quick visit to the casino – otherwise there’s not much to do. While pretty, Nice is similar to other beach cities that we’ve been to (with a higher price tag and uncomfortable beaches). Eze proved to be a pleasant surprise away from the hustle of the beachgoers and was by far our favorite. Nevertheless, we did get to swim in the Mediterranean, take in the amazing landscape of the mountains, shop at an amazing and vibrant market, and marvel at how some people live everyday!