After the Second World War dozens of men carry large bags of soil and plants on their backs up to the ruins of the castle and its sparse remaining walls. This is where André Gianton, the Maire of the time with the help of Jean Gastaud, father of the Exotic Garden in Monaco, decided to create an exotic garden. The site is well protected from the north winds by the Revère Plateau and the declivity of the rocky outcrop ensures good drainage. In other words, it was a perfect site for planting succulents such as cactus, agave and aloes.
On the photos dating back to that time one sees the ground dotted with young cacti and euphorbes, some still in their pots. The undertaking was a real challenge as well as something of a punt on the future but the success was such that a second phase of the garden soon followed.
The ruins at the summit of the garden are a reminder that the history of the castle is closely linked to that of the village. This was a coveted site that many different peoples occupied since the end of the Iron Age. The history of this area can be summed up as follows: around 220 BC the local populations settle on this rocky promontory for protection – some fragments of the protective walls dating back to this period still exist in the village. The locals, the “Ezasques”, built their houses in the protective shadow of the rock away from access routes. The fortress was constructed in the second half of the 12th century by the Lords of Eze. In order to guard the fortress the Counts of Provence and later the Dukes of Savoy relied on valiant soldiers called the “Castellans” who were posted for a year and who pledged to upkeep and protect the castle from falling into enemy hands.
In 1706, during the Spanish Wars, Louis XIV ordered the destruction of the fortress castle that belonged to the enemy Dukes of Savoy in order to prevent it ever being a threat again to the French.
During the Belle Epoch, the first tourists to this area make the arduous climb up from the seaside to the ruins of the castle in order to take advantage of the exceptional panoramic lookout. Once at the top, the elegant women would rest under their parasols and the men would remove their vests… A business-minded inhabitant set up a drink stand.