Pau is a beautiful city located in the southwest of France. The city is set along the northern edge of the famous Pyrenees Mountains and is about 85 km (53 miles) from the border of Spain. The best time to visit Pau is on a sunny day when you will be completely mesmerized by the spectacular view from its Boulevard des Pyrenees. The beautiful snow-capped mountains with the dramatic contrast of pine trees in the foreground enhances the charm of the place. Here are our tips on the best things to do when you are in Pau, France.
1. Boulevard des Pyrenees
Boulevard des Pyrenees is a unique street in France, which was laid way back in the 19th-century. The street connects the Pare Beaumont in the East to the Chateau de Pau in the West. It is an extraordinary road as it stretches across a terrace that lies at the summit if a cliff right on top of the Gave de Pau. On its south, you can see the mighty peaks of the Pyrenees Mountains. The boulevard is undoubtedly an inspiring site for morning walks and jogging. If you want to be a romantic, take a stroll with your partner when the sun sets.
Boulevard des Pyrenees
Address: 64000 Pau, France
2. Chateau de Pau
This Chateau was the birthplace of King Henry IV who was born here on December 8, 1553. Chateau de Pau has always been a favorite tourist spot, especially for the French. You will perhaps get lost if you are planning to explore the Chateau all on your own without a guide. It is better to accompany a group in case you want to see the interiors. Guided tours are available in two different languages, namely French and Spanish. Usually, these tours last for an hour or so and cover the place quite well.
On your tour, you will be privy to some beautifully decorated rooms adorned with gilded walls, coffered ceilings, some exquisite Gobelin tapestries and priceless paintings. In case you are not quite conversant with the local language, you can use a booklet, which contains information in English. The most important attraction inside the Chateau is, of course, the birthplace of the monarch. It still has a turtle shell where he was cradled in his infancy.
Chateau de Pau
Address: Rue du Moulin, 64000 Pau, France
Website: Chateau de Pau
3. Musée des Beaux-Arts
If you are a connoisseur of arts then this fine arts museum will be a destination that you should definitely add to your to-do list while visiting Pau. The name of a contributor called Louis la Caze will definitely come up when discussing this museum, as he donated thirty important paintings in the 19th-century. La Caze also occupies a mention in the French history since he was the donor of 583 fine art pieces to the Louvre. This is the highest number of contributions received by the museum ever.
There are a group of famous artists from the 16th-century to 17th-century like Breughel the Elder, Zurbaran, Jacob Jordaens and El Greco, whose works feature here. The collections from the 19th-century are predominantly French. It contains work by names such as Edgar Degas, Eugene Carriere, Camille Corot, Boudin, and Granet.
Musée des Beaux-Arts
Address: Rue Mathieu Lalanne, 64000 Pau, France
Website:Musée des Beaux-Arts (in French)
4. Funiculaire de Pau
This funicular railway has operated from dawn until dusk daily for over a century now. It sends trains moving up and down at a 40 percent gradient between the Boulevard des Pyrenees and Gare de Pau. This service has been provided absolutely free of cost to visitors since 1978. Trains come here at an interval of every 3 minutes. The climb from this railway station to the spectacular Boulevard des Pyrenees will be simply irresistible for you.
Funiculaire de Pau
Address: 64000 Pau, France
Website: Funiculaire de Pau (in French)
This is a plush neighborhood of Pau, with lush greenery to enhance its beauty. There are several locals who have constructed holiday villas styled like English homes. The majority of the upscale hotels of Pau are located in Trespoey. If you cannot make up your mind on which old villa to visit, the local tourist office will help you out with a list.
The neighborhood is located on a ridge, so you can get some epic views of the mountains similar to a Boulevard des Pyrenees. Usually, visitors can see San Carlos and St. Basil from a distance. However, the latter can be enjoyed from proximity on the third Sunday of September since the day is celebrated as a National Heritage Day.
Address: Avenue Trespoey, 64000 Pau, France
6. Musée Bernadotte
This museum relates to fascinating tales from the era of Napoleon. Incidentally, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte came from humble origins. His father was a prosecutor in the city of Pau. However, he rose to the high position of a general during troubled times and thereafter as the Marshall of the Empire. Eventually, he became the ruler of Sweden. In fact, Bernadotte is the ancestor of the present royal family of Sweden. The museum boasts of a rich collection of medals, porcelain, miniatures, paintings and personal memorabilia such as telegrams, letters, and items of everyday use.
Address: 8 Rue Tran, 64000 Pau, France
Website: Musée Bernadotte (in French)
7. Quartier du Hédas
This district has been christened after a stream called Hedas, which used to flow here previously. It is located in a depression right below the Château, which is set to its north. Pont Neuf and Pont de Lassansaa are two of the bridges that have been constructed to make life easier on this tough terrain. For visitors, it is a charming neighborhood with peculiar details such as Tor deu Borreu and steep passageways. Originally, the site was a slum of Pau, but now it is bustling with energy and is known for its exciting nightlife, with numerous restaurants and bars in the locality.
Quartier du Hédas
Website: Quartier du Hédas (in French)
8. Circuit Pau-Arnos
Circuit Pau-Arnos is a famous club racing track located in Arnos, around 20 km (12.4 mi) from Pau, France. Arnos is famous all over the world for its street circuit called Pau Grand Prix, which attracts sports lovers from several nations.
Address: Arnos, France
Website Circuit Pau-Arnos (in French)
9. Hippodrome de Pau
If you love horse racing, you must visit this well-known racecourse in Pau. You do not have to pay any entrance fee for watching races, and furthermore, if you get hungry there is a nice restaurant where you can relish your food while enjoying the panoramic views. There are races like the cross-country hurdle, flat, and many more that you can enjoy watching.
Hippodrome de Pau
Website: Hippodrome de Pau (in French)
Plan for Pau
Pau is famous for its historical castles, good shopping places, excellent architecture, some great gardens styled in the English way, and some great golf courses. All these attractions make it a great choice to spend a wonderful vacation with your dear ones.
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