Pau: Unveiling the Majesty of an Ancient Royal Haven

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Pau Pyrénées Tourisme
© Pau Pyrénées Tourisme

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 16 August 2023, updated on 16 April 2024

Pau, Ancient Royal City at the Foot of the Pyrenees

Nestled gracefully at the foothills of the majestic Pyrenees and gently caressed by the invigorating breeze of the Atlantic, the charming city of Pau emerges as an exquisite jewel in the picturesque landscape of southwest France. Serving as the captivating capital of the Béarn department within the enchanting Aquitaine region, this ancient royal city holds within its heart a legacy steeped in history, natural splendor, and a unique blend of elegance that has stood the test of time. From its regal past to its vibrant present, Pau stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of architectural opulence, rich heritage, and the breathtaking beauty of its natural surroundings. As the sun illuminates its cobblestone streets and the Pyrenees form a magnificent backdrop, Pau invites all who venture here to embark on an unforgettable journey through a land where history, culture, and nature intertwine in perfect harmony.

An Inspiring Natural Environment

Pau's illustrious history dates back to the 19th century when it flourished as a distinguished haven for aristocrats from across the globe. The echoes of its prestigious past still resonate through the cobblestone streets, elegant architecture, and regal ambiance. Once frequented by royalty and nobility, Pau's streets now welcome modern travelers seeking to bask in its timeless allure.

A Playground of Natural Wonders

Pau proudly wears the badge of a City of Art and History, cherishing its architectural treasures and heritage. From the grandeur of the national stud farm, where echoes of galloping horses seem to linger in the air, to the magnificent palaces that stand as witnesses to eras gone by, Pau showcases its storied legacy with pride. The elegant villas and museums that grace its landscape offer a glimpse into the city's rich cultural tapestry.

Green Oasis and Exotic Retreat

In the heart of Pau beats a lush and vibrant soul. This city embraces nature's bounty, boasting over 750 acres of sprawling green spaces adorned with a multitude of rare and exotic species. As you stroll through its meticulously curated gardens and parks, a sense of tranquility envelops you. The Parc Beaumont, with its serene lakes and vibrant flora, stands as a testament to Pau's commitment to preserving its natural allure.

A Playground of Natural Wonders

Pau's location presents a panorama of possibilities for adventurers and leisure enthusiasts alike. A stone's throw from both the Basque and Landes coasts and merely 45 minutes away from the Pyrenees and its ski resorts, Pau is a gateway to a myriad of exhilarating activities. Whether you're hiking up picturesque trails, carving through snow-covered slopes, or riding the waves of the Atlantic, Pau's surroundings offer a playground for all seasons.

A Sip of Culture and Culinary Artistry

As the sun dips below the horizon, Pau's cultural tapestry comes alive. The renowned Boulevard des Pyrénées unfurls majestically, offering a 1.8km-long avenue that presents an awe-inspiring view of the Pyrenees mountain range. The National Museum of the Castle of Pau beckons with its regal charm—a medieval fortress, Renaissance palace, and a repository of history. The Pau Museum of Fine Arts stands as a treasure trove, housing masterpieces that traverse centuries and styles.

Visit Pau

There are many offers to help you discover Pau, including a Gourmand Pass, a "Castle and Little Tourist Train" Pass, a "Three Museum" Pass... Explore Pau just the way you want to!

Events

  • The Pau Grand Prix, an automobile race held on a circuit throughout the city streets (annual)
  • The Historic Grand Prix, a gathering of vehicles that participated in yesteryear's races (annual)
  • Urban Session, a hip hop dance and urban culture festival (May)
  • L’été à Pau, an urban summer festival with refreshing musical encounters
  • The Emmaüs Lescar-Pau music festival (end of July)
  • Hestiv’Oc Festival, shining the spotlight on the South's music and culture (August)
  • The Etoiles de Pau, international eventing and horse trials (end of October)
  • Accès cultures électroniques, a festival dedicated to today's electronic culture (autumn)
  • Un aller-retour dans le noir, or a one-way trip into the darkness, a festival focusing on thrillers, suspense, mystery, detective and crime literature (beginning of October)
  • The Béarn Carnival, a grand celebration of all things Béarn (winter)

Gastronomy

Try some of the Southwest's delicious culinary specialties as well as traditional Béarn and Pau dishes...

  • Soups and stews: the cabbage-based garbure, and corn-flour broye
  • Dishes : confit, magret and other duck or goose dishes, wood pigeon, Bayonne ham, trinxat...
  • Cheeses : ossau-iraty, greuilh
  • Desserts : a special gâteau à la broche cooked on a spit, merveilles
  • Sweets : Coucougnettes du Vert Galant
  • Wines : Jurançon, Madiran, Béarn and Pacherenc appellations

Pau: A Journey of Discovery

Visiting Pau is an invitation to embark on a personalized journey of discovery. Immerse yourself in the enchanting ambiance with offerings like the Gourmand Pass, "Castle and Little Tourist Train" Pass, and the "Three Museum" Pass. These avenues empower you to explore Pau at your own pace, curating an experience that resonates with your interests and desires. Pau is more than a destination; it's a connection—a connection to history, nature, culture, and the human spirit. It's where the past meets the present in a harmonious dance, where cobblestone streets whisper tales of bygone eras, and where the Pyrenees stand as silent witnesses to the city's journey. Pau's allure is everlasting, a sentiment that lingers in the heart long after your visit, beckoning you to return and delve deeper into its magic. Embrace the elegance, the history, and the allure that define Pau. Immerse yourself in its architectural splendors, stroll through its enchanting parks, and savor its cultural treasures. Let Pau be your canvas for exploration, your sanctuary for serenity, and your portal to a world where time stands still and beauty thrives. Allow its symphony of elegance and discovery to weave a story that becomes a cherished part of your own narrative—an everlasting memory of a city that captured your heart.

Getting there

  • By plane : the Pau-Pyrenees airport flies to Paris-Orly, Roissy CDG, Marseille, Lyon, Bastia, and Ajaccio
  • By train : the SNCF station in Pau has direct connections with: Bordeaux - Paris, Toulouse - Vintimille and Genève; Bayonne - Hendaye and Spain, as well as access to the Aspe Valley via its liaison with Oloron-Sainte-Marie
  • By car :

A64 motorway : Toulouse - Tarbes - Pau - Orthez - Bayonne – Spain A65 motorway : Gascony motorway linked to Langon-Bordeaux Main road 117 : Toulouse - Tarbes - Pau - Orthez - Bayonne – Spain Main road 134 : Bordeaux - Langon - Aire-sur-Adour - Pau - Oloron - Sainte-Marie - Somport

Contact

Office de Tourisme et des Congrès de Pau Place Royale 64000 Pau Tel : +33 (0)5 59 27 27 08 Mail : accueil@tourismepau.fr

By France.fr

The magazine of the destination unravels an unexpected France that revisits tradition and cultivates creativity. A France far beyond what you can imagine…