Barcelonnette: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Barcelonnette

The town of Barcelonnette during winter. (Wikipedia)

Germanwings Airbus A320 flight crashed into the French Alps close to the ski resort of Barcelonnette. All 142 on board the flight are believed to have perished, including around 20 school children from the Giola Institute in Catalonia.

Here’s what you need to know about the area where the plane went down:


1. The Town Is Surrounded by Mountains Reaching Nearly 10,000 Feet

Place Manuel in the center of Barcelonette. (Wikipedia)

Place Manuel in the center of Barcelonette. (Wikipedia)

The town of Barcelonnette is buried in the Ubaye Valley. That puts Barcelonnette in the shades of mountains reaching nearly 10,000 feet in height. The French Alps highest mountain, Mont Blanc, is around 15,000 feet. Mount Everest is 30,000 feet.


2. The Easiest Way to Get There Is Through Flying

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to the site of the crash on March 25. (Getty)

The town, which counts its ski resorts as its major industry, is most commonly reached via plane through the Barcelonnette-Saint Pons Airport. It’s the only regional capital in France that isn’t connected to a train line. There have never been an accident associated with the local airport.


3. Barcelonnette Has Fallen Victim to Numerous Natural Disasters in Recent Years

Barcelonette Map

The Germanwings plane crashed somewhere between Barcelonnette and Digne. (Google Street View)

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, landslides, avalanches and floods have all impacted Barcelonnette. There has been a weather station in the town recording data since 1928.


4. In the 1950s, Most of the Population of the Town Moved to Mexico

The entrance the small airport in Barcelonette. (Google Street View)

The entrance the small airport in Barcelonette. (Google Street View)

According to France’s 2007 census, thee are 2,766 people living in Barcelonnette. The population of the town was over 6,000 between up until the 1950s when a large proportion of the towns people moved to Mexico to set up textile businesses. According to a French report on the movement, there are 60,000 descendants of Barcelonnette people living in Mexico today.


5. The Town Is Named After Barcelona, Where the Doomed Germanwings Flight Took Off

germanwings 9u452, airplane crash, france

(Getty Images)

The town was founded in 1231 by Raimond Berennguer V. He named it after his hometown of Barcelona. In local dialect, the town is often referred to as “New Barcelona.”