Embracing Gardens Across the French Riviera
For me, the quintessential touch of home in any foreign land is a visit to a garden. My affinity for green spaces, where lush landscapes cocoon me while fragrances of diverse florals dance in the air, is an enduring love affair.
While not possessing botanical expertise, there’s an unspoken connection between gardens and my soul. Perhaps I’m a hopeless romantic when it comes to flowers, but the tranquility that envelops me within a beautiful garden is beyond words.
Exploring the French Riviera’s Enchanting Gardens
If, like me, you appreciate the enchanting allure of gardens, the French Riviera unfolds a mesmerizing tapestry of horticultural wonders. During my visit to Nice, I discovered three gardens that stood out as the highlights of my sojourn, all within a 30-minute radius from the heart of the city and easily accessible by public transport.
1. Jardin du Monastère de Cimiez
Nestled within the historic Cote d’Azur city, Jardin du Monastère de Cimiez captivated me while exploring the top art museums and galleries of Nice. Originating from the 9th century, this garden envelops a Benedictine Monastery, once a thriving vegetable garden and orchard tended by monks. Today, it stands as a haven of French Riviera flora, adorned with citrus trees, landscaped flowerbeds, and the lingering scents of various blossoms.
Retaining its centuries-old layout, the garden offers panoramic views of the Bay of Angels and the city of Nice. Notably, the cemetery within this garden is the resting place of luminaries such as Henri Matisse. Easily reachable from Nice, a bus journey of 21 minutes from Nice-Ville train station unveils this historical gem.
2. Jardin Exotique d’Èze
Perched high above the Mediterranean Sea, the Jardin Exotique d’Èze is a botanical marvel set amidst the ancient ruins of a fortress. Boasting a diverse collection of flora thriving in the Mediterranean climate, this garden showcases towering succulents, cacti, and an array of Mediterranean species. A ticketed entry grants access to this captivating garden, with its prime visiting season during spring and early summer.
Accessing this garden is convenient from Nice, with a TER train journey to Èze-Sur-Mer followed by a brief bus ride or a picturesque hike up the Nietzsche Trail.
3. Gardens at Villa Rothschild
Situated on the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula, the gardens at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild offer a sublime experience. The impeccably manicured gardens surrounding this pink villa exude an air of elegance, complete with fragrances of lavender and roses. Built during the French Belle Epoque era, the gardens, divided into nine sub-gardens, each with a unique theme, are a testament to opulence and meticulous design.
Visiting this villa requires a ticket, but the experience is worth every Euro. A seamless journey from Nice via bus number 15 brings you to Passable/Rothschild station, followed by a short walk to this exquisite garden.
In essence, these three enchanting gardens of the French Riviera, with their unique charm and historical significance, are a testament to the region’s allure for garden enthusiasts. Whether you’re drawn to panoramic views, botanical diversity, or opulent landscapes, the French Riviera’s gardens promise a sensory journey through nature’s beauty.