Things To Do
"The Balcony of the French Riviera" is widely known for its quaint mountain towns, scenic views and spectacular outdoors. People come here to relax and escape the urban commotion. But don't worry, should you get tired of reading books and sipping aperitifs on our tranquil terrace, there is plenty to see and do right around the corner.
A five-minute walk up the hill from Villa Juli lies the sleepy village of Spéracèdes. Located in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Spéracèdes boasts some of the best views in the region. According to the happy locals, spending a few days here is like drinking from the fountain of youth.
The town houses roughly 1,200 friendly villagers, a little restaurant serving local dishes, a country store where you can buy fresh bread, vegetables and fruits, a charming square where families play boule, a small church, a playground, and a doctor's office. There are also buses that will take you to the surrounding towns.
The Mediterranean Sea and the sandy beaches of Cannes are only a 30 minute drive from Villa Juli. So is the beautiful lake Saint-Cassien.
One hour up the coast from Cannes, you'll find the shingle beaches of Nice. If you want to take a dip in the turquoise waters of lake Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, it's a two-hour drive to the east.
Grasse, Spéracèdes' largest neighbor, has been the perfume capital of the world since the 16th century. The biggest perfumeries are Fragonard, Galimard and Molinard, and all offer free guided tours. At some you can even create your own scent!
In this Medieval city you also find quaint squares and narrow streets dotted with cute houses, several great restaurants, cafés, bakeries, shops, museums, and a casino.
The town is located about 10 km from Villa Juli.
Gorges du Verdon
Named the most beautiful canyon in Europe! 25 km long and up to 700 meters deep, the gorge was formed by the vibrant turquoise waters of the Verdon River.
The most impressive part lies between the towns of Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. It's well worth the two-hour drive from Spéracèdes to the lake Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon at the end.
The gorge is known for its outstanding hiking trails, kayaking, rafting, canyoning, and multi-pitch rock climbing.
Provence is particularily known for its excellent rosé wines. There are several lovely vinyards and wineries an hour or two away from Villa Juli, such as the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Villa Juli will occasionally arrange wine tastings at the guesthouse, hosted by experts in the industry. We also have a wine cellar with handpicked French, German and Italian wines for anyone interested in purchasing a bottle. Please contact us for more information.
Olive Oil Tastings
The olive tree has long played a central part in the local family agriculture, and in wintertime the oil mills are in full swing. Spéracèdes' two mills are well-known throughout the region, and the 100-year-old Doussan Mill, run by Monsieur Baussy, is located only a short walk up the hill from Villa Juli.
The Daver Mill is no longer operating, but it is still possible to see some of the site’s once cutting edge facilities dating back to the turn of the last century, which have been preserved intact.
In Grasse, you can tour the more than 300-year-old Huilerie Sainte-Anne, the last traditional oil mill in town. Other popular mills include Moulin d’Opio and Moulin du Rossignol.
There are several exciting caves to explore just outside of Spéracèdes, like the prehistoric Grotte des Luchons and the “Ardisson” cave, which was once occupied for several hundred years.
For a more family-friendly experience, take a guided tour (in English or French) into the spectacular Grotte de Saint-Cézaire with its ever-changing rock formations, only a 10-minute drive away from Villa Juli. The tour will take you on a 200 meter long path, 40 meters below ground.
Grotte de Baume Obscure, "the dark cave", is another amazing cave 30 minutes away, that you can either explore on your own or with a guide, accompanied by a sound and light show.
The winding mountain roads along the Côte d'Azur and Alpes-Maritimes are particularly popular among road bikers.
The most famous stretches are the the blossoming Routes de la Lavande, starting from Grasse, and the 300 km long Route Napoléon, taken by Napoléon in 1815 on his return from Elba. For more routes, click here.
The spectacular Gorge du Verdon offers some of the most scenic hikes in the region: Le sentier (pathway) de Martel, Le sentier de l'Imbut, Le sentier du Bastidon, and Le belvédère de Rancoumas par le pont de Tusset (the Rancoumas panoramic viewpoint near the Tusset Bridge).
The stunning Parc Naturel Régional des Préalpes d'Azur is just a 15 minute drive away from Villa Juli. And at the Monts d'Azur Nature Reserve, located 45 minutes north of the guesthouse, you can enjoy diverse fauna on foot or from a horse cart.
There are also several hiking trails of various length and difficulty surrounding Spéracèdes and the neighboring town of Grasse. Just the short, steep walk up the hill from Villa Juli to the Spéracèdes Cross is sure to get your heart pumping! From there you can see the Lérins Islands, the Saint-Cassien Lake, and the peaks of the Esterel.
There are several wonderful golf courses on the "The Balcony of the French Riviera". Golf du Claux Amic in Grasse, an 18-hole course, is the closest one. A bit further away is Golf de Saint Donat in Mouans-Sartoux which has both a 9 and 18-hole course.
There are also Opio Valbonne Golf Club, one of the oldest courses in the region, and La Grande Bastide Golf Club with its striking views. Another club with great views is the Royal Mougins Golf Resort. All three are 18-hole courses.
If you get tired of hitting golf balls there is boule in Spéracèdes and tennis courts in nearby Cabris.
Cabris, 3 km
This classic French village with panoramic ocean views houses a beautiful 18th century church, great restaurants, cafés, bakeries, a library, post office, and a tourist information center.
Mougins, 17 km
Here you can enjoy Michelin-starred restaurants, art galleries, and great golfing with a view.
Gourdon, 22 km
Gourdon clings to the top of a steep cliff with amazing views of the ocean and Gorges du Loup. Be sure to visit Place Victoria and the Romanesque Church of Saint-Vincent.
Saint-Paul-de-Vence, 31 km
This ring-walled Medieval town is known for its many art museums and galleries, famous painters, actors, musicians, and writers. Marc Chagall is buried here.
At 2000 meters, Isola is the summit of the Alpes-Martimes and home of the freestyle. The resort has 43 runs (120 km), a huge snow park, and après-ski with ice-skating and spas. Suitable for all levels of skiers.
Specialized in airboarding, Auron has 42 runs (135 km) for beginners and experts alike, including a club for 3-6 year olds and good après-ski facilities.
The most family orientated of the ski resorts with a nursery for children aged 3 months to 6 years. 52 runs (92 km) and excellent après-ski. Developing a reputation for freestyle, ski cross and boarder cross.
Located in Piemonte at 2085 meters, this beautiful resort has 42 runs (80 km) and is one of the oldest alpine villages in Italy. Close to the French border.
The resorts are all about a two hour drive from Villa Juli.