The villa La Piccada is located in St Jeannet, just 25 minutes from Nice Airport and within easy reach of the A8 motorway. St Jeannet is a discreet medieval village once loved by artists such as Chagall, Dufy and Matisse, drawn no doubt by the Baou, the distinctive mountain under which the village nestles. In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 caper To Catch A Thief, the Baou provides a dramatic backdrop to Grace Kelly and Cary Grant’s blossoming romance.
PROVENCAL CHARM MEETS DANISH HYGGE
The Danish-owned La Piccada combines Provencal charm with Danish "Hygge" - cosy but stylish and extremely well equipped, with Netflix TV - just bring your account details and log in.
La Piccada comprises four bedrooms and two bathrooms, with two additional beds available if required. All bedrooms are sunny and light with glorious south-facing views. There is a spacious swimming pool, a pool house equipped with both a gas and a charcoal barbecue, several sunny terraces and a garden with orange, fig and persimmon trees, which guests are naturally welcome to enjoy when in season.
On the top floor you’ll find the Terrace Room, a large double bedroom with twin beds (90 x 200) and a private terrace. Adjacent is the retro bathroom with original flamboyant fittings and a separate WC. Next comes the Versailles Room, fit for a king – the original owner had extravagant tastes and subsequent owners haven’t had the heart to change them – guests think they make La Piccada unique and add a sense of fun.
Downstairs you’ll find a spacious living and dining room with beams and a log fire, and beyond that is the well-equipped kitchen and a conservatory room. There are two further bedrooms, The White Room and The Garden Room, which has French windows leading out to the garden and the newly-completed sun terrace, which leads to the pool. All beds except for the Terrace room are 140 x 200cm. The bathroom on this floor is newly equipped with a shower and modern fittings.
FREE WIFI AND NETFLIX TV
There is unlimited free WiFi access throughout the property and Netflix TV - just bring your account details and log in. For younger visitors there is a high chair and a cot, as well as protective gates for all doors which lead out to the pool.
La Piccada is ideally situated for groups of cyclists, hikers and climbers, with plenty of storage space in the garage for bikes and outdoor equipment.
La Piccada is set on a quiet cul-de-sac a ten minute (uphill) walk to St Jeannet village, where there is a bakery, several restaurants, a terrific pizza place, a popular bar/café with panoramic views, a post office and two food shops selling local produce, freshly-prepared dishes and delicatessen-style products. St Jeannet also has one of the last independent vineyards in the region, which produces white, rose and red wines. Below St Jeannet village itself is the area known as Le Peyron, where there’s a supermarket, two bakeries, a pharmacy, a Thai restaurant, a newsagent's and a bank.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE ALL YEAR
This area is full of delightful, understated medieval villages which are great for exploring and invariably boast wonderful restaurants. Well known are the towns of Vence and St-Paul- de-Vence, just a short drive away. Vence has a charming historic inner city that boasts an excellent food lane as well as France’s smallest cathedral, not to mention shops, restaurants and a lively Friday market.
For foodies this area is exceptional, with several Michelin-starred restaurants including Le Clovis and Alain Llorca in nearby Tourrettes-sur-Loup and La Colle-sur-Loup respectively, as well as St Paul’s famous La Colombe d’Or and in Vence the Auberge des Seigneurs, which welcomes many of the F1 teams every Monaco Grand Prix. A short drive away you’ll also find the Bar Tabac de Florian in Bouyon, once feted by Michael Winner in his Sunday Times column.
ART AND CULTURE
For culture enthusiasts there is plenty to see all year, with a wide range of art museums including the Matisse and Chagall in Nice, the Picasso in Antibes, the Renoir in Cagnes, the Fondation Maeght in St Paul de Vence and the Musée d’Art Classique in Mougins. More specialised are the perfume museums of Grasse and a culinary museum in Villeneuve Loubet, as well as castles, cathedrals and belle époque villas to explore.
This area is a ideal for lovers of the great outdoors, with fantastic hiking trails to suit all abilities starting right on our doorstep, including a walk up to the top of the Baou itself, from where there are panoramic views. We’ve been told you can walk from here to Geneva along the mountain route, but have yet to try.
The Baou has become well-known for its rock climbing with faces suitable for all levels of experience. (We’ve heard unconfirmed rumours that the team of the recent Spiderman movies trained here.)
The French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur, is one of road cycling’s Meccas. Tour de France yellow jersey wearer and former Team Sky directeur sportif Sean Yates once described Nice as the best place in the world to cycle all year round. In our opinion St Jeannet, away from Nice’s traffic and with a far greater choice of bike-friendly roads, is even better.
Several professional teams have training bases in the area and, at the risk of reeling off a list of drug-addled stars, Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton and Kevin Livingstone all conducted legitimate parts of their training here while Alexander Vinokourov is a near neighbour.
The backcountry has hundreds of kilometres of quiet roads with several fantastic cols. When the temperature drops head down to the coast. Nothing beats pedalling along the Mediterranean in winter sunshine – Monaco and Italy one way; Antibes, Cannes and St Raphael the other.
St Jeannet itself is only 5kms from the Col de Vence (south facing and therefore can be climbed throughout the year) and is also on the Nice Ironman course. Several cyclosportives are held in the area every year. For keen cyclists there couldn’t be a better place to stay and La Piccada is ideal for accommodating groups of up to ten.
We like to think there is little about cycling in the area we don’t know, so feel free to contact us with any vélo related questions. If you need help transporting bikes to and from the airport, we can arrange this on request. Bikes can be stored in the villa’s spacious garage and there is parking for up to three cars.
The popular ski areas of Gréolières (cross-country skiing), Auron and Isola 2000 are within easy reach from St Jeannet, and are ideal for day trips.
Our nearest beach is at Cagnes-sur-Mer, an easy drive away. There’s a free car park and a fantastic set of pedestrian and cycling lanes which reach as far as Nice to the east and Antibes and Cannes to the west, and are ideal for the leisure cyclist and children.
YEAR-ROUND HOLIDAY DESTINATION
As well as being perfect for the summer, we think La Piccada makes an ideal year-round holiday destination, as winters here can be surprisingly warm and sunny – we’ve been known to have lunch outside between November and March, when the spring rains start. The nights tend to be cold and crisp and the skies full of stars, perfect for snuggling up on the sofa with a glass of red wine and a good book – or a British terrestrial TV channel if you like, but that’s less romantic.
As for us, we’re English, we’re next door, and we’re here to help, but you’re equally welcome to ignore us if you prefer!