Pau Tourist Attractions
Pau (alt. 207 m/680ft; pop. 82,300), chief town of the département of Pyrénées- Atlantiques, is magnificently situated on a plateau above the valley of the Gave de Pau. It is a climatic resort popular in both summer and winter as well as an important economic center.Originally a village which grew up round a hunting lodge of the Counts of Béarn, it developed into a town which became the capital of Béarn in 1464. It was the residence of Jeanne d'Albret, queen of Navarre and a convert to Protestantism, whose son became king of France as Henry IV. The town, which had barely 8,000 inhabitants at the end of the 18th C., was "discovered" by British visitors in the 1820s and thereafter developed rapidly.
Between the Château in Pau and the Parc Beaumont runs the Boulevard des Pyrénées, just under 2km/1.5mi long, which was laid out on the orders of Napoleon and affords magnificent views of the Pyrenees.The Château, originally a fortified castle of the 14th C., was rebuilt in the 16th C. as a Renaissance palace. There have been many subsequent additions; the entrance hall is modern.The main features of the Château are its fine tapestries and the apartments of Jeanne d'Albret and Henry IV. It contains two museums, the Musée National du Château (interior decoration, tapestries, works of art of the time of Henry IV) and the Musée Béarnais (crafts, history, folk art).
Address: 2 Rue du Château, F-64000 Pau, France
Opening hours: 9:30am-11:45am, 2pm-5:15pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee: Adult Admission Cost, Child 18 & under Free
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Musée des Beaux-Arts
The Pau Musée des Beaux-Arts is of more than regional importance, with pictures by Tintoretto, El Greco, Rubens and Degas.
Address: Rue Mathieu-Lalanne, F-64000 Pau, France
Opening hours: 10am-12pm, 2pm-6pm; Closed: Tue
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), 1945 Victory Day (May 8), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Bastille Day - France (Jul 14), Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), All Saints' Day - Christian (Nov 1), Remembrance Day / 1918 Armistice Day (Nov 11), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Pentecost Monday (Whit Monday) - Christian, Ascension Thursday - Christian
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €3.00, Concession or reduced rate €1.50
The Parc Beaumont in Pau contains the remnants of the gardens which surrounded the Château in the 16th C.
8km/5mi north of Pau is the little town of Lescar, situated above the Gave de Pau valley. The former cathedral of Notre-Dame (12th C., with much later alteration) has a beautiful interior.