Hello Monaco magazine Winter 2018 - issue HM02 - Page 98

MONACO NEIGHBOURHOOD plant outshines the less colourful agaves and succulents. Locals look after the plants, caringly placing sunbeds on one of the gar- den’s terraces. A tired traveller can thus re- lax and admire the mountain slopes that he has just conquered. This park of unique exotic plants was laid in 1949. Originally it was named the Exotic Garden of Monaco. In the winter of 2003, the municipality of Eze completely renovated the place to “breathe new life into it”. Since then it has become the «Garden of Eze». The garden is also known for its sculptures — elegant female figures that have become symbols of Eze. You can enjoy a beautiful panorama of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and the coast from here. One of the observation platforms even reveals to the curious outlines of Corsica. Sightseeing T he oldest building in Eze is the Church of the White Penitents or the Church of the Holy Cross, built in 1306. Back in time, the White Brother- hood was helping the unfortunate and the lepers. The Brotherhood actually still exists nowadays. Small and unpretentious from the outside and incredibly atmospheric inside, the church attracts visitors for its two relics: an ancient Catalan crucifix with a smiling Christ and the statue of the Vir- gin Mary with her baby. The architectural style of the church sug- gests Genovese influence as the town once belonged to the Republic of Genoa. The main square is home to another unu- sual 18th century building — the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Notre Dame de l’Assomption). According to an old legend, the Phoenicians built a tem- ple in this place to honour the goddess Isis; the church still holds the Egyptian cross. In 1974, the French comedian Francis Blanche was buried here. The inscription on his grave says: «Let me sleep, I was created for it» (Lais- sez-moi dormir, j’etais fait pour ça). The ancient Chateau of Eze (Château Eza) is located in the very heart of the stone city. It was built four centuries ago in the old part of the village. Until 1983, it bore the name «Castle of the Swedish Prince». From 1920, and for the next 30 years, it was the residence of his Royal Highness, the Swed- ish Prince Guillaume. As a writer, he cre- ated most of his works within the walls of this building. After a thorough restoration in the second half of the 20th century, the castle passed into the ownership of a Swiss, Andre Rocha. Nowadays, Château Eza, with its old stone walls bearing a rich history, is a five-star ho- tel. Its restaurant was awarded a Michelin star and is rightly believed to be the gastro- nomic pearl of the town. Although it does not have a particularly exotic menu (its chef Axel Wagner prefers traditional dishes), real For gourmets T he hotel «Chèvre d’Or» has a two- Michelin-star restaurant and at- tracts world-class celebrities with The medieval town still remembers one of its most extraordinary and famous inhabitants, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who came to the south of France to cheer himself up. gourmets who are accustomed to good cui- sine come here every year. The hotel has 12 rooms and suites, each decorated in a unique style recreating the atmosphere of an ancient castle. In addition to the Eze Castle, the scenic mountain road of the Moyenne Corniche also hides another attraction — the Chateau of the Golden Goat (Château de la Chèvre d’Or) that belonged to a Yugoslav violinist Zlatko Balokovic back in the early 20th cen- tury. Robert Wolff, who bought the building in 1953, transformed the castle into a restau- Scenic route — moyenne corniche 96 / Hello Monaco – Winter 2018 rant. Over three years, the establishment gained international fame thanks to the ar- rival of Walt Disney. The hotel turned out to be the 6th stage on the so-called «Road of Happiness» (La Route du Bonheur) created by Marcel Tiloy in 1954. In 1960, following the initiative of the South African Consul of Monaco, Bruno Ingold, «Chèvre d’Or» officially became a hotel. Its 18 rooms are booked annually by princes and princesses, politicians and actors. The hotel currently has 38 rooms and suites, eight of them bearing the names of famous Eze residents (Cocteau, Nietzsche and others). its Mediterranean cuisine. Fabrice Wühlen, who lived in Morocco for several years, is currently the chef of the establishment. Unsurprisingly, the menu has Moroccan notes that only give it more credit. The hard-to -reach village of Eze is a landmark in itself. Those who love wan- dering through the cobweb of narrow streets will be greeted by lovely handi- craft shops, French souvenirs and per- fume boutiques. Another good restaurant to visit is the «Mas Provençal». You will find some quite conflicting reviews on the Internet. Some customers are delighted with its interior and the menu. Some complain that due to its increased popularity and the num- ber of visitors, the place now resembles more of a bistro than an exquisite restau- rant where many celebrities, an Ameri- can President George Bush among others, used to dine. Tastes differ, however, as the saying goes. One thing is sure. You have never seen a restaurant with such an inte- rior. Saying that the restaurant is decorat- ed with flowers, is the least thing one can say. It just drowns in flowers and vines! Try its risotto or lamb and you won’t re- gret it! In any case, if you have time, do book a table at «Mas Provençal» and draw your own conclusions.