City stage for the second time.

Sub-prefecture of Alpes de Haute-Provence

Population: 2,700 (Barcelonnets)

Specialities: Ubaye ravioles, tourtons, cheeses. Donkey's ears. Genepi.

Personalities: Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (physicist, Nobel Prize 1991), Paul Reynaud (former prime minister), Carole Merle (most successful French World Cup skier), Honoré Bonnet (skier, director of the French ski teams), Patrick Edlinger (rock-climbing), René Fontaine (chocolatier).

Sport: Skiing in Pra-Loup and Le Sauze. Competitions: stages of the Tour de France and the Dauphiné.

Economy: tourism, shops, agriculture (cattle and sheep farming), ski resorts (Le Sauze, Pra-Loup). Public works.

Festivals: Children of Jazz (July) / Latin-Mexican Festivals (August) / Festival of the Dead (October)

Labels: Town in bloom (1)

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The only time Barcelonnette featured in the history of the Tour de France was in 1975 as the start of a short stage won by Bernard Thévenet in Serre-Chevalier. That day, the Frenchman beat Eddy Merckx to the line by 2:22 to extend his lead over the Belgian in the overall classification just a few days before the finish: his first victory in Paris was looming. The Ubaye town at the foot of Col d'Allos has also hosted the Critérium du Dauphiné, notably in 1987, when Thierry Claveyrolat won here. To coincide with the Tour de France, local councillors are planning to organise an amateur Franco-Mexican cycle race to celebrate the links between the town and Mexico, as well as an attempt by a rider from Barcelonnette to set a time record for the over 76s at altitude in Mexico.


  • Mexican villas

Construction: 19th and 20th centuries.

History: many of the houses were built by people from Barcelonnette who returned from Mexico, where they emigrated en masse between 1850 and 1950. These migrants held a monopoly on trade and the textile industry in Mexico, while at the same time discovering the importance of architecture and its power of representation, particularly under the government of Porfirio Diaz. Their social position enabled them to become promoters of monumental architecture linked to the creation of their department stores. On their return from Mexico, they adopted a style for these buildings that was directly derived from the industrial art they had helped to establish. From their Mexican department stores to their villas in the Ubaye valley, the cultural references of these Barcelonnette migrants remained identical. The villas in Barcelonnette and Jausiers have the same architects, decorators and specialist suppliers. The aim of these architects and their clients was above all, to express the image of progress and social success.

Listed: Villa Bleue, built in the Art Deco style in 1931 for Camille Jean, founder of the Francia Maritima department stores' in Mexico City, was listed in 1987. Villa Costebelle, built for Mexican merchant Victor Garcin, has been listed since 1986.  

  • Valley Museum

Musée de la Vallée features a number of rooms displaying objects that have marked the lives of the valley's inhabitants. Whether everyday objects, objects brought back from Mexico or religious objects, the museum houses the altar and altarpiece from the Saint-Maurice chapel, which was destroyed to build the town hall in 1934, with the portraits of the twelve apostles, dating from the 17th century and listed. The Museum is housed in Barcelonnette's only Mexican villa open to the public, La Sapinière, built in 1878 by Alexandre Reynaud, father of Paul Reynaud, future President of the French Council. It is a small jewel of Art Nouveau.  

  • Cardinalis Tower

Construction: 14th and 15th centuries.

Style: Romanesque.

Historythe Cardinalis tower or "clock tower", forty-two-metres high, is a square tower with geminated openings, topped by a tufa pyramid, framed by four pyramidions. It was built as a bell tower for the Dominican convent. The convent was built thanks to a bequest from Hugues de Saint-Cher, who was made a cardinal in 1244 before the First Council of Lyon and died in 1263, with the support of Raimond III de Medullion, archbishop of Embrun, both of whom were Dominicans. In a very poor state of repair after the wars of the early 17th century, it was quickly rebuilt. The ashlar cladding on the lower section dates from the 19th century. Gargoyles decorate the corners.

Listed as: Historical Monument since 1907.  

  • Valley war memorial

Built: 1923

Sculptor: Paul Landowski

Style: Art Deco

HistoryThe monument to the dead of the 1914-1918 war in the Ubaye valley was designed by the creator of the Corcovado Christ in Rio de Janeiro. The starting point for this project was the desire to group together on a single monument all the children of the valley, including those of the arrondissement.

Characteristics: the work, preceded by a triangular square, is erected on a podium made accessible by imposing steps. It stands out against a natural backdrop of mountain peaks. The monument is designed like a stage wall, with two realistically sculpted Poilus (WWI soldiers) standing on it, dressed as infantrymen and Alpine hunters. The group thus depicted seems to stand out against an exedra wall in the middle of a canopy of vegetation.

Listed as: Historical Monument since 2010.


  • Ubaye ravioles

Ravioles of l'Ubaye and Champsaur, also known as prëires or brouquetons, are small potato and cheese (or Roquefort) doughnuts served with a green salad and traditionally served with liquid honey and red fruit jam (blueberries, raspberries, etc.). They can also be served grated (with crème fraîche and cheese), as an accompaniment to meat.

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