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.
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.