Destination Guide: Pau
The soaring Pyrenees and fin-de-siècle nostalgia
Ex-pat Victorian Brits left a legacy of elegant
architecture and leafy riverside parks in compact Pau.
Nowadays, the student population lends the town a youthful
vibe. With mountains on its doorstep, Pau is a popular base
for hiking and skiing.
Food and Drink
Pyrenean produce and exotic flavours. Classic Béarnais
restaurants and Basque tapas bars line the traffic-free lanes
Place Royale. Indulge in regional duck, pork or foie
gras dishes, or try Henri IV's rustic chicken favourite
poule au pot. Pau's ethnic communities also influence
local menus with fragrant North African recipes, like spicy
tagines and lamb couscous.
Sightseeing and relaxation
A royal birthplace and mountain views. The aptly named
Boulevard des Pyrénées opens a window onto a 150km
vista of frosty Pyrenean peaks. Pau's grand Belle Epoque
buildings and parks are attractions in their own right, but
it's the regal
château where Henri IV was born that steals the show,
with its opulent Renaissance detail and rich tapestry
Basque antiques and sweet treats. Hunt for bargains at
antique stores around the château. Shops on
Serviez are well stocked with speciality chocolates and
conserves. Local award-winning jam-meister Francis Miot cooks
up sweet spreads like peach, raspberry and apricot jam
Favorite du Roi at
la Féerie Gourmande in nearby Uzos.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Vibrant bars and genteel tea rooms. At smart bars
around the château sip Madiran and Jurançon wines to live
music. Lively clubs cluster in
';le Triangle' area and along the
Boulevard des Pyrénées. Tea and cake at a
salon de thé makes a refined prelude to an evening of
classical music by the
Orchestre de Pau at the Palais Beaumont.