Grand défilé des sombreros © UT-Camille Moirenc
Grand défilé des sombreros © UT-Camille Moirenc

The Ubaye and Mexico

A unique history.
Le Château des Magnans trésor architectural de Jausiers

Jacques Arnaud left Jausiers in 1805 for Louisiana, where he founded Arnaudville. Sixteen years later, in 1821, he emigrated with his two brothers over the border to Mexico, which bordered Louisiana. They brought with them three of their former weavers from Jausiers who, having made their fortune, then returned to Ubaye. This act encouraged many young men to leave the valley in search of a better life.

Some of them became especially successful in the textile or banking industries, returning home to construct large villas as ostentatious signs of their success.

Built between 1880 and 1930, there remain approximately fifty large villas surrounded by gardens and tree-lined parks in Barcelonnette and Jausiers, which bear witness to this time. These beautiful bourgeois houses, known as the "Mexican" villas, introduce an original and exceptional characteristic trait to these towns, which are twinned respectively with Valle de Bravo (Mexico) and Arnaudville (Louisiana).

At the time, the design of the villas would also include the construction of a tomb, which would be the final resting place and last testimony to the success of former emigrants to Mexico, and a feature often designed by the same architect. The monumental tombs in the historic cemeteries of Barcelonnette and Tournoux are perfect examples of this.

Vue sur les villas mexicaines de Barcelonnette
Le Musée de la Vallée unique villa qui se visite de l'intérieur Villa La Sapinière - Museum of Barcelonnette
Villa Bleue Villa Bleue
la villa Morelia à Jausiers Villa Morelia
Le cimetière de Tournoux et ses tombeaux monumentaux Tournoux cemetery

Did you know ?

Mexico has an honorary consulate in Barcelonnette !

Strong enduring links

Each year, the Ubaye Valley and particularly Barcelonnette, which is twinned with Valle de Bravo, continue to celebrate their friendship and their constant links with Mexico through 2 unmissable events:

The Latino Mexican Festival

Mariachis, salsa, gourmet food... every year in August, Barcelonnette is decorated in Mexican colours and invites you to experience 10 days of festivities brimming with an original and friendly atmosphere.

The Festival of the Dead

A true homage to Mexican culture, the Festival of the Dead is inspired by "del Dia de los Muertos". This is a tradition during which parades, music and shows joyfully celebrate those loved ones who have departed us.

Spectacle de mariachis en août à Barcelonnette
La Fête des Morts et les Catrinas mexicaines

Barcelonnette in the colours of Mexico

La Place Valle de Bravo à Barcelonnette aux sons des Fêtes Latinos
Danseuses mexicaines à Barcelonnette
Le défilé de la Fête des Morts de Barcelonnette
Ballet mexicain et mariachis place Valle de Bravo

Discover this story

La migration des Barcelonnettes expliquée au Musée de la Vallée
Musée de la Vallée

The La Sapinière Villa is one of the first generation of villas built when people returned from Mexico. With its decorative elements, elaborate walnut woodwork, marquetry parquet floors, Art Nouveau earthenware and stained glass windows, the building that houses the museum is an exhibit itself.

Discover the museum

Le magnifique Château des Magnans à Jausiers
Routes of discovery

With its villas surrounded by pleasure gardens, Barcelonnette has preserved almost all of the buildings that were constructed between 1870 and 1930 by former emigrants who had returned home once they had made their fortunes.

Discover Barcelonnette

Follow the urban route through Jausiers to discover the Saint Nicolas de Myre church, the bourgeois villas and the remarkable tombs in the Chastel cemetery.

Discover Jausiers

Visite guidée des villas mexicaines de Barcelonnette
Guided tours

Discover an architectural heritage full of art deco and art nouveau influences brought back by emigrant builders and features that bear witness to the encounters experienced by Ubayans in Mexico.