Stage town for the 73rd time
Prefecture of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64)
Population: 77,600 (Palois, Paloises), 162,000 for the 31 communes of Pau Béarn Pyrénées.
Specialities: garbure, poule au pot, foie gras, magret and other dishes derived from duck and goose, honey, coucougnettes du Vert Galant (roasted almonds coated in dark chocolate and raspberry marzipan), Verdier chocolates, Francis Miot jams, "Russe" (almond cake and praline cream), ossau-iraty (cheese), wines (Jurançon, Madiran, Pacherenc).
Personalities: Henry IV (1553-1572, King of France), Jean-Baptiste Jules Bernadotte (1756-1835, Marshal of the Empire then King of Sweden and Norway under the name of Charles XIV), André Labarrère (1928-2006, politician), Christian Laborde (writer), Ariane Massenet (TV host), Robert Paparemborde, Damien Traille (rugby), Patrice Estanguet (canoe, Olympic medallist in 1996), Tony Estanguet (canoe, Olympic champion in 2000, 2004 and 2012), Julien Escudé (football), Nicolas Escudé, Jérémy Chardy (tennis), Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle, Matthieu Ladagnous, Nicolas Portal (cycling).
Sport: Section Paloise (rugby, Top 14), Élan béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (basketball, Pro A), Pau Canoë-Kayak Club Universitaire. Pau-Pyrénées white water stadium, Basque pelota complex, Pau-Gelos national stud farm, Pau-Sers equestrian training centre, golf course (oldest course in continental Europe, created in 1856). Events: Courir à Pau (February), Téraga Open (March, tennis), Ekiden Pau-Gelos (April), Grand Prix automobile de Pau (historic), Les Étoiles de Pau (eventing), 2017 World Canoeing Championships.
Economy: second economic centre in Aquitaine after Bordeaux, army (airborne troops school, national centre for military personnel archives), University of Pau and the Pays de l'Adour (12,700 students), geosciences and petroleum engineering, chemicals and petrochemicals, pharmaceutical and food industries, aeronautics, mechanics, IT, equine industry, tourism
Festivals: Carnaval biarnès (February), Le livre en Béarn (February), Festival des danses plurielles (March), Urban Session (May), Rendez-vous aux Jardins (June), Flamenco y Feria (June), Un été au ciné (July), Hestiv' `Oc (August, music and cultures of the South), Street Arts Festival (August), Un aller-retour dans le noir (October, crime book fair), Les Idées mènent le monde (November, literary meetings), Pau International Film Festival (December)
Cycling: 25 km of cycle paths and 101 km of cycle lanes, IDEcycle (self-service bicycle hire), 170 bicycles in 15 stations and 2 mobile stations.
Slogan: Pau, Capital of the Tour.
Labels: " Ville à Vélo du Tour de France " 3 bikes / City of art and history / Active and sporty city / Child-friendly city / Action cœur de Ville label / Cit'érgie label for the climate plan / City in bloom 4 flowers
Websites / FB / Twitter: www.pau.fr / www.facebook.com/pg/ville2pau / twitter.com/Ville_Pau / www.instagram.com/ville_pau / www.pau-pyrénées.com / pau-congres.com / www.musee-chateau-pau.fr
The metamorphosis initiated since 2014 by the city of Pau now shows reinvented districts and a booming city centre.
The central district of Hédas was rehabilitated in 2018 and offers a cultural promenade linking the Place d'Espagne to the Château de Pau.
The Halles de Pau and its Republic complex, completed in 2020, have seen the rebirth of a central district: a real beating heart of the city centre combining gastronomy, local products and community life.
This metamorphosis has been completed by the major works carried out with a view to the arrival of the Fébus, the first 18-metre long hydrogen bus crossing the city from north to south in less than 17 minutes, with a passage every 8 minutes. An efficient and environmentally friendly way to travel.
The Fébus line runs along the Saragosse district, which is being transformed as part of the urban renewal project. The aim is to transform the Laherrère esplanade, give the district a role in the city's life, reorganise and make traffic safer on Saragosse Avenue, bring the playground to life, and renovate the Fleurs school after completely rebuilding the MJC des Fleurs and the Bleuets stadium.
Innovation is also the key word for the rehabilitation of the Rives du Gave district, located 5 minutes from the city centre. This new district, crossed by the Gave de Pau, plans to build an urban and landscaped complex dedicated to the creative and collaborative economy as well as to leisure and crafts, and is intended to be exemplary in terms of sustainable development.
PAU AND CYCLING
This is the 73rd time that Pau has hosted the Tour de France, their joint history having begun in 1930. A base camp before or after climbing the Pyrenees, it lends itself to all profiles, as shown by the list of winners in the city, ranging from climbers René Vietto and Fausto Coppi to adventurers like Pierrick Fedrigo. Among the sprinters, Sean Kelly, Erik Zabel or Robbie McEwen preceded Arnaud Démare, who sealed a prestigious victory there in 2018, his second on the Grande Boucle.
In 2019, the capital of Béarn celebrated the centenary of the Yellow Jersey's appearance, masterfully honoured by Julian Alaphilippe who won the time trial held there at the same time as he extended his lead in the general classification. Last year, the peloton left Pau for Laruns, where Tadej Pogacar took his first stage victory in the Tour: two more were to follow, along with the overall victory!
With so many finishes in town (and so many departures on the Boulevard des Pyrénées), the Tour was bound to attract riders, and there are many cyclists linked to Pau. From Victor Fontan, winner of two stages in 1928 and short-lived Yellow Jersey in 1929, to the 1956 Olympic team time trial champion Arnaud Geyre, and closer to home, Stéphane Augé, with eight participations, Mathieu Ladagnous, with seven Tours to his record, and the late sporting director of the Ineos team, Nicolas Portal, who also competed in six Tours as a rider.
Le Tour des Géants
If the city of Henri IV is on the podium behind Paris and Bordeaux in the ranking of loyalty to the Tour de France, it has also been for several summers the city of the Tour des Géants, statues to the glory of the winners of the Grande Boucle. Each of these totems features the name and photo of the winner of the year, as well as a text written by writer Christian Laborde. The totems are almost two metres high and form a permanent monument set in a green setting in the Bois Louis, near the Philippe Tissié Stadium. The site, laid out in the form of a spiral, will host a new sculpture every year. Each aluminium and glass effigy - three of them will be made of bronze - will display the name and photo of the year's winner, the number of kilometres covered, his or her average speed and photos or drawings, accompanied by a dynamic and original text. A QR code is affixed to each of the buildings. By scanning the code with a smartphone, it is possible to listen to this text translated into several languages.
Boulevard des Pyrenees
Completed in 1900, it offers an exceptional panorama of almost 150 km of the Pyrenees mountain range. Its 850-metre long balustrade serves as an orientation railing. The spirit of the Boulevard des Pyrénées project was inspired by Jean-Charles Alphand, who wrote: "Pau lacks the Promenade des Anglais in Nice". The boulevard was therefore conceived as a mountain replica of the Nice thoroughfare, a privileged place to "see and be seen". This promenade on the edge of a totally artificial balcony represents a technical and aesthetic feat, which has structured and organised the urban development since its creation.
The Park and Palais Beaumont
Built in 1900 to accommodate the wealthy resort clientele, the Winter Palace, known as Palais Beaumont, now houses a casino and a conference centre. The site is located in the heart of a park with remarkable trees and a green theatre. The starting village of the Tour is often located here.
The National Museum of Pau Castle
The foundations of Pau Castle, which are located on a rocky spur overlooking a ford in the Gave, date back to the early Middle Ages. Henry IV was born there on 13 December 1553. Restored under Louis-Philippe, the castle became a museum in 1926. In addition to its royal flats, it houses important collections dedicated to Henry IV as well as a large number of tapestries, and its carapace cradle still features prominently.
The banks of the Gave
250 hectares of land crossed by the 13 km of the Gave's banks. Remarkable for its natural heritage, this park makes it possible for everyone to enjoy a natural space in the city. Various facilities are available to walkers, such as benches, picnic tables, etc. On the banks of the Gave also lies the white-water stadium and the blue way for a sporting and aquatic break: canoeing or rafting!
Domaine de Sers
Domaine de Sers, 25 hectares of greenery, recently inaugurated, is a great place for the locals. In addition to the municipal greenhouses, it houses the Maison du Jardinier (House of the Gardener), a place for information, advice and activities on sustainable gardening. It is also an initiative to support citizens in their projects to green public spaces.