Barcelonnette, the chief town of the Ubaye valley, is situated at an altitude of 1,135 metres and possesses both typical southern French and mountain charm. Place Manuel sits in the heart of the historic centre bordered by pretty, colourful façades. Dominated by the 15th-century Cardinalis tower, this hub of local activity also features a number of outdoor cafés and restaurants. A network of pedestrian streets lined with shops surrounds the square.
Fans of unusual architecture should make a point of admiring the Mexican villas on Avenue de la Libération. Of Italian, Tyrolean and Baroque inspiration, these luxury residences, most of which are listed historic monuments, were built between 1880 and 1930 by Barcelonnets who had made their fortune in Mexico. One of them, Villa La Sapinière, is open to the public and houses the Musée de la Vallée, a museum devoted to the history and traditions of the Ubaye valley, as well as the Mercantour National Park visitor centre (Maison du Parc).
A very animated Latino-Mexican Festival takes over Barcelonnette for around 10 days every August and features a packed programme of concerts, processions and mariachis.