Prehistoric Times and Antiquity
Municipal divisions left their mark on Spéracèdes in the form of numerous great walls, built of massive stone blocks in the 4th to 6th centuries B.C. by ancient peoples generally referred to as the Ligurians. One of these walls at the summit of the audides, oval in shape and constituting several concentric smaller walls, was registered in 1904 but never became an excavation site. Those articles found on the surface by archeologists Marcellin Bottin and Paul Goby do, in any case, attest to the site’s being inhabited over the course of the last three centuries B.C.
Paul Goby did excavate an interesting little cave in 1905, called the “Ardisson” cave, where he collected a fair quantity of Roman and indigenous pottery shards and debris, a fibula, and a Tiberius coin, representing the Roman emperor who died in 37 A.D. In light of recent excavations carried out in the Languedoc, this cave appears to have been one of numerous and popular underground sites devoted to one or several unknown deities, rather than having served as a dwelling. It appears to have been used for nearly two hundred years.
The village’s oil mills have enjoyed a long and glorious reputation. The Daver Mill, renovated in 1902, was the region’s most modern in its day, with a gas motor and hydraulic system - quite complex for the period. The mixers and huge presses were still in operation as late as 1976. Today, it is still possible to see some of the site’s once cutting—edge facilities dating from the turn of the century, which have been preserved intact. This mill is now equipped with more modern equipment.
The Doussan Mill, run by Monsieur Baussy, has also been modernized, but still boasts a superb relic of times past: a waterwheel some 36 feet in diameter.
This Provencal village, which today numbers 1,258 inhabitants, sits on the “Balcony of the French Riviera,” nestled in the Grasse backcountry at 1,150 feet in altitude. The name Spéracèdes appears for the first time in the 11th century as “La Perasceda.” The name was taken from the early Middle Ages Latin verb “Perraccedere,” meaning “to approach sideways/from the wrong direction.”
From the beginning of the century until 1948, Spéracèdes was still written “Esperacede.” The coat of arms incorporated a crowned goat. The goat symbolizes Spéracèdes’ separation from the municipality of nearby Cabris (the word for “kids,” i.e., baby goats, in French) in 1911. The crown and the lily represent Saint Casimir, the patron saint of the village.
To be considered a town, Spéracèdes had to have a church…so the villagers built the church themselves!
This peaceful, petit Provencal village, heavily planted with olive trees, is far from the noise of cities and highways. The panorama viewed from its hillsides is among the region’s most beautiful, and above all, it is “a Village of Happy People - a few days’ stay here is drinking from the fountain of youth.”
“A ben leu! - See you soon!”