Eze. The Exotic Garden.

One of the most spectacular views on the Cote d’Azur is from the hill top town of Eze.  It is situated between Nice and Monaco. From here you look down on Cap Ferrat and on a clear day you can see Corsica. The eagle’s nest of the ancient fortress which is now in ruins is  perched 429 metres above sea level. The story goes there was once a temple to Isis here built by the Phoenicians.

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Now there is an exotic garden with steps and paths clinging precariously to the rock face. It was built after the war but it was brought up to date in 2004.  It must have been a mammoth job carrying up bags of boulders and rocks and then terracing the site. The plants are mostly succulents; Cacti, Agaves and Euphorbia. These are plants suited to  the baking, south- facing rocks. This is one of the most spectacular sites for a garden I have ever seen.

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IMG_6105Throughout this wonderful garden you find earth goddesses, the work of the sculptor Jean-Philippe Richard. This seems so appropriate for a site that was dedicated to Isis, the great Egyptian goddess. These mysterious figures stand vigil, watching over the garden. Some of them gaze enigmatically out to sea. Each is named and accompanied by a  short poem.

If like Reginald Farrer you feel you are turning into a ‘white-eyed troglodyte’ in the dark winter months this is the place to be. Provence has had far more rain than usual this winter but there are still plenty of warm days  like the one last week when these photographs were taken.   Blue sky, sun, crystal -clear air and a turquoise sea. Heaven!

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30 Responses to Eze. The Exotic Garden.

  1. Julie says:

    This looks heavenly and a very welcome respite from the long grey dreary rain filled days and nights, we are currently experiencing. Roll on Springtime!

    • Chloris says:

      It was lovely to be in Eze last week in the sun after endless rain at home.
      But still today has been sunny hasn’t it? And spring is just round the corner.

  2. Anna says:

    Wow! I think that this is one garden I would rather visit courtesy of a blog than in person Chloris simply because I would have to keep my eyes closed if I were there. Heights and I don’t get on well at all 😦 What brilliant sculptures which much complement the exotic planting. I can almost breath in the sea air from here 🙂

  3. croftgarden says:

    What a spectacular garden, I can almost feel the warmth of the sun.

  4. Chloris says:

    It is a heavenly place; quite magical.

  5. Flighty says:

    A most enjoyable post about a magical looking garden. Much as I’d like to look round sadly I doubt if my knees would let me nowadays. xx

  6. Annette says:

    When have you been there, Chloris? It’s a garden I like a lot but the area is so flooded with tourists that we don’t fancy going there anymore. Do you know Giardini Hanbury? That’s my favourite on that coast; they just had a lovely feature in The Garden. Lovely pics – thank you 🙂

  7. Chloris says:

    I was there last week, Annette, you can see some of the plants are wrapped up in their winter coats. I know it gets very crowded in summer and it must be very hot too as there is no shade. It is perfect in February; hardly anybody there and pleasantly warm.
    I haven’t been to La Mortola but I intend to go. I saw it in The Garden. It looks wonderful.

    • Annette says:

      Alas, you’ve picked a good time! I wondered about the winter coats ;). You must go and see Hanbury’s garden – well it really IS a must! Pity you didn’t pop in on the way, next time then 🙂

  8. rusty duck says:

    Oh that looks glorious Chloris. I can feel the warmth from your pictures.

  9. Chloris says:

    It was really warm. I imagine it must be baking in summer and too crowded to enjoy properly. On a sunny day in February it is perfect.

  10. I am definitely ready to pack my bags. I love gardens, of course, and I love ruined old forts and castles. Perhaps the next time we go to Europe ….

    • Chloris says:

      If you find yourself on the Côte d’Azur, Jason then you have to come here. It gets very crowded in summer though so February is the best time, even though some of the plants are wrapped up. I don’t know why I don’t think they get frost here.

  11. bittster says:

    Wow, the colors and the sun and the view. Breathtaking. After the climb up I’d be tempted to sit and just take it in forever… until my tummy started to rumble. I bet there was a decent snack somewhere to be found?

  12. Kris P says:

    Beautiful views and great photos, Chloris! I’m glad you had an opportunity to get away from that deluge of rain!

  13. Chloris says:

    Thank you , Kris. It is a wonderful place and it was fantastic to find some warm sun at last.

  14. snowbird says:

    What a wonderful post, how lovely to see a little sunshine and a clear blue sea. I just loved the mysterious figures watching over the garden and gazing out to sea. What an interesting blog you have.xxx

  15. Chloris says:

    Thank you, I love the sculptures too. They each had a poem The one for Isis said:
    Vous m’avez reconnue,
    Je suis la meme
    Et portant autre.
    You have recognised me… I am the same
    And different.

  16. What an extraordinary garden, it makes the steep garden on Saint Michael’s Mount look tame by comparison, but oh wow, that blue, that sun, I am jealous… Love the sculpture, it must add a real sense of atmosphere.

  17. Chloris says:

    It is the most amazing place. I’m not surprised that the Phoenicians chose it as a site for their temple to Isis.The goddesses are beautiful and suit the garden so well.And yes we were so lucky to see it in the sun.

  18. Alain says:

    I see that Isis was among other things the patroness of nature so a garden setting would be most appropriate for her statue. I looked up the village and read some of the other poems. I like the “ou presque” in “Suivez-moi jeune homme, et vous connaitrez tous mes secrets… ou presque”.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes she was the goddess of nature and fertility. The statue looks pregnant.
      I love the poem for Anais:
      Deesse, je n’ ose
      Sirene, ne puis
      Femme, je suis.
      As a goddess, I dare not
      As a mermaid, I cannot
      A woman I am.

  19. I can only say WOW. The view is astounding and so is the garden perched hillside. I would be in heaven there because it has everything. The statuary is beautiful art too.

  20. Chloris says:

    The statuary is beautiful and suits the garden superbly. The views are just incredible.

  21. Wow! What an amazing garden – and spectacular views! Not to mention all that sunshine! It’s a wonder you wanted to come back. At least we gardeners have something to look forward to when we return from foreign climes, especially at this time of year, with spring and summer still ahead of us. Hope you came back refreshed and raring to go!

  22. Chloris says:

    I love the colours and the light of the south of France and the dramatic scenery. The flowers are exotic but I wouldn’t swap them for our late winter and spring treasures.

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