Pau

Gate of the Pyrenees, sport and nature

The Tour de France did not stop 66 times in Pau by chance. It is the ideal gateway into the mythical Pyrenean passes. Pau, gate of the Pyrenees, is also the ideal destination for sport and nature lovers thanks to its geographic and climatic assets, its facilities and the heritage left by the tradition of British holidaymaking in the 19th century. 

In Pau and around, adventure seekers looking for thrills and beauty can go rafting or canoeing in the rivers or play golf on the oldest course in continental Europe. Not to mention the walks along the Gave in the natural urban park, the Bastard forest or the many parks and gardens scattered across town.
Apart from these outdoor sports, Pau's territory also hosts major sport events and athletes training for their own objectives. Besides local hero Tony Estanguet, a three-times canoeing Olympic champion, the French team's training camp is based in Pau and welcomes athletes and teams from the world over. The French basketball team also sets camp in the Sports Palace every summer before the main international competitions.
The motor-racing Grand Prix, both vintage and modern, are part of Pau's cultural heritage while horse has also a prominent place in town with a show-jumping event every autumn. Rugby is also king on our lands and a symbol of the South-West of France for its conviviality and love of gastronomy.

Web sites

Stage town for the 66th time
Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64)
Population : 81,500 inhabitants (Palois), 151,000 inhabitants in the 14 communes of the Pau-Pyrénées Agglomeration
Economy : aeronautics, geosciences, food and pharmaceutical industries, equine industry, University town, Military
Culture : château de Pau where King Henri IV was born, Cité des Pyrénées, Le Bel Ordinaire (modern art space), Museum of Fine Arts, Bernadotte Museum, Aviation Museum. Festivals: Biarnès Carnival, Hestiv' Oc, Pau-Pyrenees book festival, Urban Session (dance), Un Aller-Retour dans le noir (festival of detective novels), Summer in Pau (music)
Sport : Section Paloise (rugby Pro D2), Élan béarnais (basket Pro A), Car Racing Grand Prix, The Stars of Pau (riding competition)
Specialities : wines from Jurançon and Madiran, foie gras, garbure (thick French soup or stew), béarnaise sauce, poule au pot (chicken in a pot)
Sustainable Development : Sustainable Development ribbons in 2012, network of IDELIS buses, 25 km of slopes and 101 km of cycle lanes, 220 self service bikes, car sharing, free funicular railway, taxi bikes, Natural urban park
Labels : Town of Art and History, 4 flowers, Child friendly town

Binda and the Tour

In 1930 Alfredo Binda showed the way for the winners in Pau. He won the first of his only two stages on the Tour there, although he was considered as being the greatest rider in the interwar period. Indeed, the rider from Lombardy, who almost acquired French nationality, only took part in the 1930 Tour and stayed away from the race for the rest of his career. The winner of 41 stages of the Giro d'Italia, Binda won the Tour de France four times all the same, as the manager of the Italian team. An enormous engine, he was the first rider to stay seated in the toughest climbs and French rival Rene Vietto used to say of him: “Put a glass on top of his head and he can climb the Tourmalet without spilling a drop.” Since Binda, Pau has had specialists who won twice in town like Fiorenzo Magni, Bernard Hinault or closer to us Pierrick Fedrigo in 2010 and 2012.

Stage town for the 66th time
Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64)
Population : 81,500 inhabitants (Palois), 151,000 inhabitants in the 14 communes of the Pau-Pyrénées Agglomeration
Economy : aeronautics, geosciences, food and pharmaceutical industries, equine industry, University town, Military
Culture : château de Pau where King Henri IV was born, Cité des Pyrénées, Le Bel Ordinaire (modern art space), Museum of Fine Arts, Bernadotte Museum, Aviation Museum. Festivals: Biarnès Carnival, Hestiv' Oc, Pau-Pyrenees book festival, Urban Session (dance), Un Aller-Retour dans le noir (festival of detective novels), Summer in Pau (music)
Sport : Section Paloise (rugby Pro D2), Élan béarnais (basket Pro A), Car Racing Grand Prix, The Stars of Pau (riding competition)
Specialities : wines from Jurançon and Madiran, foie gras, garbure (thick French soup or stew), béarnaise sauce, poule au pot (chicken in a pot)
Sustainable Development : Sustainable Development ribbons in 2012, network of IDELIS buses, 25 km of slopes and 101 km of cycle lanes, 220 self service bikes, car sharing, free funicular railway, taxi bikes, Natural urban park
Labels : Town of Art and History, 4 flowers, Child friendly town

Web sites

Places to see

Pau Horizons

On Boulevard des Pyrenees, the charms of the view are exceptional and form a unique tableau involving the Gave, the hillsides peppered with vines, woods and villas with the Pyrenees as a background canvas. Exhibitions, guided walks and mobile applications are available until February 2015.

Henry IV Castle

Built on a rocky ridge overlooking a ford on the Gave, the castle's foundations date from the early Middle-Ages. But the present aspect of the castle owes much to Gaston Febus, viscount of Bearn in the 14th century. In the next, it became the residence of the viscounts of Bearn, who inherited the kingdom of Navarre. Henri IV was born here in 1553. Restored by King Louis-Philippe, the castle became a museum in 1926. Alongside the royal apartments, it is home to several collections devoted to King Henri and a great number of tapestries, making it the biggest tapestry museum in France outside Paris.
Website: www.musee-chateau-pau.fr
Cité des Pyrénées
The site opened in February 2013 and is dedicated to the Pyrenees and mountains in general. It is a meeting point for men, women and associations with a passion for the mountain and pyreneism and vows to restore the links between the town and the summits.

Gave de Pau Natural Urban Park

The park stretches over 250 ha along 13 km of the banks of the Gave. Remarkable for its environment, the park vows to allow everybody an access to nature in the very heart of town. The cycling track between Betharram and Bayonne is ideal for bike lovers of all levels. The transformation of the site will be completed in 2015.

National Stud Farm of Pau-Gelos
 
In 1808, Napoleon I decided to create a National Stud Farm in Gelos, in the suburbs of Pau. It was set in the former residence of the president of the Finance Court of the Parliament of Navarre, one of the few 18th century buildings remaining in the region. It is nowadays a thriving institution specialised in reproduction, while Pyrenees-Atlantiques is France's leading department for horse breeding. The farm owns 60 stalions both draught horses and race horses and is specialised in the preservation of regional breeds.  The farm also houses a unique collection of 19th century carriages and coaches.

Pau Horizons © Ville de Pau - Communauté d'agglomération Pau-PyrénéesHenry IV Castle © Ville de Pau - Communauté d'agglomération Pau-PyrénéesLa Cité des Pyrénées © Ville de Pau - Communauté d'agglomération Pau-PyrénéesGave de Pau Natural Urban Park © Ville de Pau - Communauté d'agglomération Pau-PyrénéesNational Stud Farm of Pau-Gelos - Communauté d'agglomération Pau-Pyrénées
Stage town for the 66th time
Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64)
Population : 81,500 inhabitants (Palois), 151,000 inhabitants in the 14 communes of the Pau-Pyrénées Agglomeration
Economy : aeronautics, geosciences, food and pharmaceutical industries, equine industry, University town, Military
Culture : château de Pau where King Henri IV was born, Cité des Pyrénées, Le Bel Ordinaire (modern art space), Museum of Fine Arts, Bernadotte Museum, Aviation Museum. Festivals: Biarnès Carnival, Hestiv' Oc, Pau-Pyrenees book festival, Urban Session (dance), Un Aller-Retour dans le noir (festival of detective novels), Summer in Pau (music)
Sport : Section Paloise (rugby Pro D2), Élan béarnais (basket Pro A), Car Racing Grand Prix, The Stars of Pau (riding competition)
Specialities : wines from Jurançon and Madiran, foie gras, garbure (thick French soup or stew), béarnaise sauce, poule au pot (chicken in a pot)
Sustainable Development : Sustainable Development ribbons in 2012, network of IDELIS buses, 25 km of slopes and 101 km of cycle lanes, 220 self service bikes, car sharing, free funicular railway, taxi bikes, Natural urban park
Labels : Town of Art and History, 4 flowers, Child friendly town

Web sites

video13/06/2014 

The towns 2014: visit Pau

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