Barcelonnette - Encyclopedia

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BARCELONNETTE, a town in the department of BassesAlpes, in the S.E. of France. Pop. (1906) 2075. It is built at a height of 3717 ft. on the right bank of the Ubaye river, on which it is the most important place. It is situated in a wide and very fertile valley, and is surrounded by many villas, built by natives who have made their fortune in Mexico, and are locally known as les Americains. The town itself is mainly composed of a long street (flanked by two others), which is really the road from Grenoble to Cuneo over the Col de l'Argentiere (6545 ft.). The only remarkable buildings in the town are a striking clock-tower of the 15th century (the remains of a Franciscan convent) and the Musee Chabrand, which contains a very complete collection of birds, both European and extra-European.

Refounded in 1231 by Raymond Berenger IV., count of Provence (he was of the family of the counts of Barcelona, whence the name of the town he rebuilt), Barcelonnette passed to Savoy in 1388 (formal cession in 1 4 19), and in 1713 by the treaty of Utrecht was ceded to France in exchange for the valleys of Exilles, Fenestrelles, and Château Dauphin (Casteldelfino). It was the birth-place of J. A. Manuel (1775-1827), the well-known Liberal orator at the time of the Restoration of 1815, after whom the principal square of the town is named.

See F. Arnaud, Barcelonnette et ses environs (Guide du C. A. F.) (1898), and La Vallee de Barcelonnette (1900). (W. A. B. C.)

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