Hilltop Towns of France

By Kate Riley November 16, 2017

I’ve been busy this week preparing for Thanksgiving, cleaning and organizing in anticipation of a house filled with guests. I started to daydream about my amazing trip to France in September and the enchanting hilltop towns.

My trip took me there in early autumn it was still warm. I stayed in Nice for a few days and from there adventured out on a few day trips, two of them being visits to hilltop towns that many of you recommended. Èze was my first stop (on the road to Monaco) and wow what an incredible view you’ll see on the road there. I was on a small group tour and we stopped here just to take it all in.



Èze as foretold by so many  was absolutely charming. It had a beautiful church and the most magnificent Mediterranean sea views from a botanical garden on top. Everywhere you turn there are vines growing on top of centuries old walls, it’s so charming. I couldn’t help but hum that song from Beauty and the Beast, “Little town, it’s a quiet village, every day, like the one before …”.





One of the benefits from traveling alone on this trip was that I could take my time as I walked the twisted streets, grabbing a coffee, popping into a shop, ducking down alleys, stopping along the way to take pictures or video.

In Èze, I loved the color of the church in the middle of the town, its hue just a hint more yellow than my house back home in California.


It was so fun meandering the crooked cobblestone streets, climbing up hills to the very top to witness the massive views all around.

St. Paul de Vence was similar in its winding cobblestone streets all protected inside walls on top of a hill. It was larger and took several hours to enjoy it all. The most enchanting part is these hilltop towns are like adult mazes, so fun to explore especially when you have no idea what to expect around every new turn.









I made a short video of my walks through these towns, meander the streets with me in these next 2 ½ minutes!



  1. Gorgeous!!! We did not make it to Eze when we went, and I wish we had. We were in Aix, Rousillon, Lourmarin, Les Beaux de Provence Isle Sur La Sorgue and St. Remy de Provence were all lovely as well.

    • I was in Les Baux when I was in Provence, very similar feel, so charming!! I missed St. Remy and I can’t wait to go back and see it again. I was also in Aix and took a train to Avignon too. Gorgeous!

  2. I know that I am very lucky ! I live in Nice and I like very much all these hilltop villages. As an artist it’s very inspiring.

    • I have to walk or stand very still! It’s challenging I still think the video does come out a little shaky sometimes but such is life :)

  3. Hi Kate, I live in the Bay Area and like you, I really enjoy traveling solo. Can you tell me if there’s a tour company that you recommend? I’m hoping to add a couple more trips this next year. Happy Holidays! Thanks.

  4. Hi, thank you for posting this. I love what you said about the benefits of traveling alone; oh, it seems so enticing for those of us who could just wander all day! If I may ask, what was your experience with the French people? I want to plan a 25 year wedding anniversary trip to Europe for my family, but my husband says he has no interest in going to France because he feels the horrible stereotype of French people being rude and unhelpful is true, as far as what he had experienced on business trips. I realize his experience was only his experience, and I don’t want to offend anyone, but I just thought I’d get your input. Thank you so much!

    • Great question! I have only had one strange/bad experience with a French man on a train. He was angry at me when he thought I was in his seat (he was wrong) and the conductor had to come over and calm him down. Other than that I have had very pleasant experiences with all French people, when I was in Paris last year, and during my entire stay in France. In the tourist industry you’ll meet a lot of friendly English speaking people but I also wandered off the main path and came in contact with some lovely locals. I have nothing but good things to say, in fact, I’d love to live in France for a few months when my kids are older. Don’t hesitate to go, you’ll love it!

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