Peillon, French Riviera


Situated in the hinterland of Nice, picturesque Peillon is one of the most beautiful perched villages of the French Riviera.

Situation of Peillon

Peillon is situated only 20kms north of Nice in the Prealps of Nice. The commune is crossed by the D21 road that links Nice to L’Escarène and Peille.

Peillon is a commune comprising of 6 hamlets; Borghéas, Châteauvieux, le Moulin, les Novaines, Sainte-Thècle, and the old perched village. Situated in the valley of the Paillon de l’Escarène, Sainte-Thècle is the chief-town where to find the town-hall, the post office and the railway station.

From Sainte-Thècle (altitude 181 m), the “Route du Vieux Village” (Old Village Road) with its hairpins leads up to the entrance to the old village at 372 m where a few parking spaces can be found.

Peillon: a bit of history

The first written mention of Peillon dates to 1150 under the name “Guauceranus de Pellom“. It belonged to the same territory as the neighbouring village of Peille until 1235.

In 1388, Peillon came under the authority of the House of Savoy. The village became French during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era.

From 1814 to 1860, Peillon and the County of Nice belonged to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia.

After the referendum of 1860, the whole region joined France.

The Old Village

The small compact village of Peillon with its medieval stone houses lies in a remarkable site, on top of a high narrow rocky spur.

The village itself is pedestrian and was not designed to cars. Visitors can explore Peillon by foot, wandering up and down the narrow little streets whose houses seem to cling to the rock.



A succession of winding streets with steep stairs and passing through low arched passageways leads up to the top of the village where the church is situated.

The parish church of the Transfiguration was built in the 18th century on the site of the castle’s keep. It includes an old Romanesque chapel of the 12th that was originally part of the castle.

The little square in front of the sanctuary has benches and a great vista of the surroundings of Peillon made up of steep forested mountains and deep valleys.

Another little church, the Chapelle Notre-Dame-des-Douleurs des Pénitents Blancs features interesting 15th century frescoes from Jean Canavesio.

Unlike other attractive villages, Peillon is free of gift shops, cafés and restaurants which makes the visit of the authentic village much more agreeable.

English-French Vocabulary

(f) for féminin, (m) for masculin, (adj) for adjective and (v) for verbs

  • castle = château (m)
  • county = comté (m)
  • French Riviera = Côte d’Azur (f)
  • House of Savoy = Maison de Savoie (f)
  • mountain = montagne (f)
  • perched village = village perché (m)
  • Prealps = Préalpes (f,p)
  • village = village (m)


About Author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. In 2014 he moved back to Europe from Sydney with his wife and daughter to be closer to their families and to France. He has a background teaching French and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations and a degree of Economics and Management.

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