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Stage town for the 74th time
Prefecture of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64)
Population: 77,600 inhabitants (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 with dark chocolate and raspberry marzipan), Verdier chocolates, Francis Miot jams, the "Russe" (almond cake and praline cream), ossau-iraty (cheese), wines (Jurançon, Madiran, Pacherenc).
Personalities : Henri 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 agri-food industries, aeronautics, mechanics, information technology, 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), Festival Flamenco y Feria (June), Un été au ciné (July), Hestiv' `Oc (August, music and cultures of the South), Festival des arts de la rue (August), Un aller-retour dans le noir (October, crime book fair), Les Idées mènent le monde (November, literary meetings), Festival international du film de Pau (December)
Cycling: 25 km of cycle tracks 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 bicycles / 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.frénées.com /

Une rue commerçante de la ville de Pau © Ville de Pau
La statue du roi Henri IV, sur la Place Royale de Pau © Ville de Pau
Coupe du Monde de Canoë-kayak à Pau © Ville de Pau


The last two stage starts from the capital of Béarn have been won by Tadej Pogacar, who won first in Laruns in 2020, then in Luz-Ardiden the following year. The absence of Pau on the 2022 course, rare enough to be mentioned, resulted in a second place overall for the Slovenian after two consecutive wins. There is no doubt that he will be happy to return to the most visited city of the Tour after Paris and Bordeaux. In 2019, the capital of Béarn celebrated the centenary of the appearance of the Yellow Jersey, masterfully honoured by Julian Alaphilippe who won the time trial on the programme at the same time as he extended his lead in the general classification. This is the 74th time that Pau will host the Tour de France, the joint history having begun in 1930. The base camp before or after the climb of the Pyrenees lends itself to all profiles, as shown by the list of winners in town, ranging from climbers René Vietto and Fausto Coppi to breakaway specialists like Pierrick Fedrigo. Among the sprinters, Sean Kelly, Erik Zabel or Robbie McEwen showed the way to Arnaud Démare, who clinched a prestigious victory there in 2018, his second in the Grande Boucle. With so many finishes in the city (and as many starts on the Boulevard des Pyrenees), the Tour was bound to attract riders, and there are many of them linked to Pau. From Victor Fontan, winner of two stages in 1928 and short-lived Yellow Jersey in 1929, to 1956 Olympic team time-trial champion Arnaud Geyre and, closer to us, Stéphane Augé, with eight participations, Mathieu Ladagnous, with seven Tours, and the late sports director of the Ineos team, Nicolas Portal, who also competed in six Tours as a rider.

Fontan lors du Tour de France 1929 © Pressesports
Tadej Pogacar vainqueur de l'étape 9 - Paul/Laruns du Tour de France en 2020 © A.S.O./Alex Broadway
Julian Alaphilippe pendant un contre-la-montre du Tour de France 2019 © Yuzuru SUNADA/SUNADA/PRESSE SPORTS


Tour of the Giants
Although the city of Henri IV is on the podium behind Paris and Bordeaux in the ranking of loyalty to the event, it has also been the city of the Tour des Géants for several summers, statues to the glory of the winners of the Grande Boucle. On each of these aluminum and glass totems, the name and photo of the winner of each year appear, as well as a text written by writer Christian Laborde. The totems are almost two metres high and form a permanent monument in a green setting in the Bois Louis, near the Philippe Tissié Stadium. The site, laid out in the form of a spiral, hosts a new sculpture every year. A QR code is affixed to each of the statues. By scanning the code with a smartphone, it is possible to listen to the text translated into several languages.  

Boulevard des Pyrenees
Completed in 1900, it offers an exceptional panorama on almost 150 km of the Pyrenees. 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.  

Beaumont Park and Palace
Built: 1900
Style: neo-classical.
Architect: Émile Bertrand.
Characteristics: built in 1900 to welcome the rich clientele on holiday, the Winter Palace, also known as Palais Beaumont, today 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.

National Museum of Pau Castle
Construction: 12th to 19th centuries.
Style: medieval and composite.
History: set on a rocky spur overlooking a ford in the Gave, the foundations of Pau Castle date back to the early Middle Ages. Henri 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 Henri IV as well as a large number of tapestries and his cradle made in a tortoise shell still has a prominent place.
Characteristics: it has a very irregular polygonal plan, at the top of two embankments surrounded by the first and second walls. Inside this second wall, the castle is built on the same polygonal plan. Today, it is flanked by six towers, while a seventh tower, known as the Mint Tower, is part of the first wall. These towers are all rectangular and connected by a large wall against which the residential buildings forming the dwelling are built.
Current use: a prestigious residence for centuries, the castle became a national museum dedicated to Henry IV in 1926.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1840.

The banks of the Gave
It is a 250-hectares park crossed by the 13 km of banks of the Gave. Remarkable for its heritage, this park aims to allow 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, there is also the white-water stadium and the blue way for a sporting and aquatic break: canoeing or rafting.  

The Sers estate
The newly inaugurated Domaine de Sers, 25 hectares of greenery, is a great place for the population to breathe some fresh air. 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 approach that supports citizens in their projects to enhance green public spaces.

Tour des Géants - totem de Stephen Roche © A.S.O./Olivier Chabé
Le Boulevard des Pyrénées à Pau © Ville de Pau
Le Palais d'hiver, dit Palais Beaumont © Creative Commons 3.0/Florent Pécassou
Vue sur le château de Pau © Ville de Pau
Vue aérienne sur le châteaut du musée national de Pau © Ville de Pau
Les rives du Gave de Pau © Getty/Bepsimage


Garbure is a cabbage stew with pieces of vegetables, traditional in Gascony cuisine. It is of Bearn origin and is frequently eaten in Pau. The leg of duck or goose confit was only introduced into this essentially rural dish for the poor in the middle of the 20th century. Garbure was the daily food of the Gascon peasants. It varied from one house to another, and according to the rhythm of the seasons, with the resources of the vegetable garden and the salt cellar. The principle of its recipe is to cook for a long time an assortment of vegetables and meats, generally candied. Served as a soup or as a main course, garbure can be adapted to the needs of each person. As far as vegetables are concerned, everything is possible. There must be many: green cabbage accompanied by fresh or dried corn beans, broad beans, mange-tout, potatoes, turnips, large peas, onions, garlic, sometimes carrots, turnips and even lettuce, chestnuts, nettles, even borage. Among the possible meats, there is obviously the duck leg, preserved in its fat, which brings an invaluable flavour. But also carcass, some goose offal, dried pork shank, the core of a large ham (camalhoû) or a piece of pig's neck, bacon, sausage, gizzards, dry ribs (coustoûs).

Une cassole de garbure au confit de canard © Creative Commons 4.0/Arnaud 25

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