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.
Located at more than 1,100 meters above sea level, Barcelonnette takes place in the heart of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. The small mountain commune is located in the Southern Alps, not far from Gap and Digne-les-Bains, in the valley of the Ubaye of which it is the former capital.
Formerly Celtic, then Roman, the city of Barcelonnette has had a rich and exciting history. Founded in 1231, it takes its name from Barcelona, an ancient city destroyed and settled nearby. Long disputed between the Counts of Savoy and those of Provence, it will be reunited with France at the end of the 15th century. Barcelonnette was also illustrated between 1850 and 1950 through its important emigration to Mexico, as evidenced by the local architecture.
The ideal geographical position of the Alpine town gives it an important tourism as well as many visitors. Its rich architectural and historical heritage also makes it possible to better know the illustrious past of this city full of interest.
The Museum of the Valley presents collections of objects that have marked the daily life of the inhabitants of the surroundings. Among other things, it is possible to admire religious objects, common or brought back from Mexico, as well as the altarpiece and altar of the Saint-Maurice chapel destroyed during the construction of the town hall in the first half of the 20th century. The latter two are classified as Historic Monuments and date from the 17th century.
Originalities of the city, the Mexican villas of Barcelonnette are unavoidable in the municipality. The latter were built by the inhabitants returned from Mexico after making a fortune in the textile or the trade. Colored and particular, they testify to the rich past of the city between the XIXth and the XXth century. Visit in particular the blue villa or villa Costebelle.
Built in the 1930s, the town hall of Barcelonnette takes place on the remains of the old chapel Saint-Maurice destroyed for the occasion. The pediment of the building, from the former convent of the Dominicans is classified as Historic Monuments.
Several winter sports resorts are located near Barcelonnette like those of Pra Loup, Sauze or Sainte-Anne - La Condamine. Located between 1,500 and 2,500 meters above sea level, they offer several kilometers of slopes of all levels, as well as activities for the summer seasons.
Do not miss to visit Manuel Square with its colorful houses, and dominated by the Cardinalis tower. The latter, built in the 15th century, rises more than forty meters in height. Considered one of the most beautiful spiers in the area, it used to be a steeple at the convent of the Dominicans. Today classified as a Historical Monument, it has beautiful gargoyles in its corners.
In the city, several sundials hide everywhere, dating for the oldest of the eighteenth century. It is also possible to admire beautiful churches, such as that of Saint-Pierre-ès-Liens rebuilt in the 1920s, or the church of Saint-Pons and its furniture classified as Historical Monuments like the painting representing saint Sebastian.
The market takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays morning. A night market is organized in August, and the city also hosts a Christmas market in December.
The Jazz Children's Festival takes place in July.
In August, the city hosts the Mexican Latino Festivals with their concerts, parades and dance classes.
Fortifications, Mill, Farm Discovery, White water sports, Biking, Cycling, Hiking, Paragliding, Glider, hang-gliding, mountain lakes, fishing ...