Fêtes Latino-Mexicaines de Barcelonnette © UT-Camille Moirenc
Fêtes Latino-Mexicaines de Barcelonnette © UT-Camille Moirenc

The Ubaye and Mexico

A unique History
Château des Magnans en hiver - 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.

Villas mexicaines de Barcelonnette en hiver
Villa La Sapinière - Museum de Barcelonnette Villa La Sapinière - Museum of Barcelonnette
Villa Bleue de Barcelonnette sous la neige Villa Bleue
Cimetière de Tournoux et tombeaux dits mexicains 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 Festivals

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.

Concert de mariachis à Barcelonnette
Catrina en costume - Fête des morts de Barcelonnette

Barcelonnette in the colors of Mexico

Ballet mexicain à Barcelonnette
Danseuses mexicaines à Barcelonnette
Défilé de la Fête des Morts à Barcelonnette
Mariachis lors des Fêtes latino mexicaines

Discover this story

L'hisoire des Barcelonnettes au Mexique au musée de la Sapinière
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

Villa mexicaine de Barcelonnette en hiver
In Barcelonnette

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

Le Château des Magnans de jausiers en hiver
In Jausiers

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.

Jausiers in the time of the merchants