LSU in the French Alps

Ubaye Valley

2017 LSU in the French Alps

Cultural Immersion In the Ubaye Valley of France 

Students   Montains   Students and the wall   Countryside

French Immersion – live, work, and play in France this summer! View a description of the program.

For More information, email Ashley Luoma:

The Magnificent Location

Surrounded by majestic mountains and with the Ubaye River running through it, the Ubaye Valley is located in the Southern Alps, near Italy, in the department of the Alpes de Haute-Provence. The region is a natural wonderland known for skiing in the winter and outdoor recreation in the summer. Barcelonnette, the most northern town in Provence, is near Jausiers, a town with strong ties to south Louisiana and LSU.




The Program

With grateful appreciation to Seola Arnaud Edwards, the Friends of French at LSU, Jean Mercier, Maire Adjoint of the town of Barcelonnette, and the people of the Ubaye Valley, LSU’s Department of French Studies is pleased to offer a program of community service internships in the Ubaye Valley. The internship program will provide students of French with an intensive immersion in the French language and culture. It offers you the opportunity to maximize your linguistic potential and develop greater cultural understanding through direct interaction with the French people and culture.


The Internships

You will volunteer (3-4 hours a day, 3 days per week) at various participating businesses in Barcelonnette and surrounding towns. In the past, internships have included a chocolate shop, where the students learn to make chocolate and pastries, retail shops, a florist, the local school, a café, and a bike shop. Students interact with employees and customers, perfecting their French and meeting residents of the valley.



The internships are only one part of the program. While you are not learning to make pastries, repair bicycles, or chatting with customers at the café, you will be learning about the region and its people first-hand. Students actually become a part of this town, rather than just visiting it. We spend a good amount of time with locals talking, eating, and visiting places of interest, like the Town Hall, nearby towns, and the Parc du Mercantour to see marmottes, the furry mascot of the Valley, up close. We have been received at the Town Halls in Barcelonnette and Aix-en-Provence, featured in local newspapers, and invited into people’s homes for interesting conversation and good food. You will be provided with countless opportunities to speak French and get to know the wonderful Ubaye Valley residents in a safe, natural, and relaxed atmosphere.

Various cultural and outdoor activities are included in the program fee. Cultural activities include visits to area museums, nearby towns, World War II forts, and festivals. Outdoor activities include nature walks, picnics, pétanque, and hiking. For the more adventurous among you, white water rafting, rock climbing, and mountain biking will be offered. Barcelonnette is surrounded by beautiful mountains and provides unlimited opportunities for walking, running, biking, and sitting on the porch reading or enjoying the scenery. You will also have the possibility of renting bikes for your stay.

In Barcelonnette, you will spend four weeks at the Centre Jean Chaix. You will be housed in double or triple rooms and enjoy three (generous) meals a day at the Centre. After the program you are free to return home to the U.S. or travel on your own in Europe.


LSU’s Connection with the Ubaye Valley

In 1805 three brothers left the town of Jausiers (near Barcelonnette) for Mexico. The Arnaud brothers established a successful textile business that continued to provide employment for many other emigrants from the valley. The eldest of the Arnaud brothers, Jacques, left Mexico for Louisiana, where he established a family and a plantation. In 1810, the village that had sprung up around his plantation became known as Arnaudville. Recently, Seola Arnaud Edwards, in the course of genealogical research, discovered her famous ancestor and her roots in the Ubaye Valley. As a result of her research and efforts, Jausiers and Arnaudville are now sister cities (Villes Jumellées) and LSU students have the opportunity to “live, work, and play” in this magnificent region of France.

Panneau bonne route


Applying to the Program 

1) Priority will be given to students majoring and minoring in French; 2) Because the program is language intensive, students who have had 5 semesters of French (through French 2155) will be given priority.

Applications must include: 1) The application found on the Academic Programs Abroad website 2) A copy of college transcripts: 3) A 1-2 page typed essay, written in French, describing your interest in the program and how it fits into your life, educational and career goals; 4) A letter of recommendation from a French professor. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Following preliminary evaluation of applications, selected students are interviewed (in French) regarding their application to the program.