By Cheryl Anderson
As though carved into the hillside, Château de la La Chèvre d’Or includes both restaurants and an elegant boutique hotel— found in the medieval town of Èze Village. The restaurant, La Chèvre d’Or, has been a favorite of mine for many years—it’s where I always go to dine for a wonderful lunch a day or two before my annual visit to the Côte d’Azur is at an end. I choose it for its terrace dining with sweeping views of the Mediterranean, congenial ambiance, and of course the cuisine. There are four restaurants and a bar—all with their own unique personalities.
Its gourmet restaurant was awarded two stars by the Michelin guide—one in 2013 and the second in 2014—two stars means that its cooking is excellent and worth making a detour in your itinerary. They are also a member of the Relais & Châteaux Association. Yet another group has said of the restaurant that it’s one of their delightful places. The Côte d’Azur, as you know, has excellent Mediterranean terroir and myriad regional flavors giving a chef endless possibilities for applying their creative talents. Chef Arnaud Faye has done that very well indeed—he was awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2019 and has been a part La Chèvre d’Or since 2016.
As you stroll along the wide stone pathway towards the restaurant from where you left your car, you’ll see the much-photographed terraced gardens on the hillside. If you have time, stop and sit on one of the benches and take in all the beauty around you. From the restaurant terrace, in view is Monte Carlo to the east, St. Tropez to the west, Cap-Ferret and on a clear day, in the far distance, Corsica. Èze Village is a perché so you can only imagine how wonderful are the unimpeded views of the bleu azur Mediterranean and the coastline.
Once I was there in September sitting on the terrace having lunch with a friend when in the distance we could see a storm steadily bearing down upon us from across the sea—slowly the dark clouds approached the coast. There was little doubt that the increasing wind and rain would soon reach us. As it hit with great force, drenching everything in its wake, we were quickly moved to the interior dining room off of the terrace. I have a video chronicling its approach—it was truly something to see. Many people gave up and left, but undaunted my friend and I ran into the sheltered quarters with waiters rushing right behind us grabbing plates and dinnerware along the way. We finished our meal and café in the dry and quiet of the vast indoor dining room—by the time we left the rain had completely stopped. Often, that’s just how fast the weather changes on the Côte d’Azur.
Before going to La Chèvre d’Or, I suggest you stop at Château Eza, another lovely hotel, and superb restaurant, for a coup de Champagne and sit for a bit on their cozy terrace—it too has stunning views. More than once I have enjoyed their classic French cuisine.
Be it myth or legend, how Château de La Chèvre d’Or, (the golden goat), got its name goes like this: A little old lady who lived in a cottage tended to her goats with a golden fleece, selling their milk and cheese—all the while she hid her gold coins in the surrounding rocks. Many years later, a visiting Yugoslav violinist named Zlatko Balokovic saw a goat with golden fleece—there really is a kind of goat with fleece the color of gold. This goat led him to the cottage where he found the gold coins that had been hidden.
He took the coins for himself and built a château, or maybe just a house, in the early 20th century that Robert Wolf then bought in 1953 and transformed into a restaurant. The arrival of Walt Disney changed the restaurant’s history—his visit established the restaurant’s international fame. Disney stayed for a few months convincing Wolf to turn it into a hotel. Wolf began purchasing the surrounding buildings and converted them into hotel rooms— officially becoming a hotel in 1960. I read that the hotel owns about one half of the village. A few of the hotel suites are named after famous Èze residents including Jean Cocteau and Nietzsche.
To my mind, the perfect Côte d’Azur atmosphere includes breathtaking views—et voila, La Chèvre d’Or. The postcard pictured below is one I’ve sent to friends and family for over twenty years—it emotes my deep and very enthusiastic feelings about the Côte d’Azur to perfection!