The city of Pau, in the south west of France possesses an abundance of historical charm just waiting to be discovered. Memories from Medieval times, revisiting the Renaissance, or remembering the role of the Romantics are just a few of the many riches you will encounter whilst exploring this culturally diverse city.
An obvious place to start your historical tour of Pau is the local tourism office (Office de Tourisme, 2 Rue Henri IV) where you will find numerous guides and leaflets (in English, Spanish, German, as well as French) outlining suggested walks and routes through the city. The tourism office itself has its own little piece of history. It was initially a hotel, constructed in the 18th century, and was the final resting place of Lord Selkirk of Canada.
“The Three Kingdoms” guide, found within the “History and Heritage” leaflet (Office de Tourisme), is undoubtedly the best way to ascertain Pau’s rich past. Starting from Henri IV Street (Rue Henri IV), the guide leads you through an assortment of inspiring locations, including Bernadotte Museum, the Money Tower, and of course, the birthplace of Henri IV, King of France and Navarre – Pau Castle. There are twelve stages detailed within “The Three Kingdoms” guide, geographically assembled in a convenient way for tourists. Here is a summary of what to expect from those twelve areas.
1. The Tourism Office is the first port of call. Grab as many guides and free information as you can before setting out for a great day of history and culture. best attraction Sentosa singapore
2. Rue Henri IV is actually the same street as the Tourism Office, but after walking just a few strides you will see the subtle transformations from 16th, 17th and 18th century architecture. Notice the sculpted pillars and iron-wrought balconies, as well as the terracotta cobbles indicative of a Pyrenees building exterior.
3. The Parliament of Navarre was founded around 1620 after Louis XIII signed the Edict of Union of Bearn and France. The Parliament adopted the former Law Courts as its meeting place; a building originally erected in 1585, re-built after fire damage in 1716, and eventually vacated in 1856 when new premises where found. The original Law Courts have now been renovated and are home to the Pyrenees-Atlantiques General Council.
4. Pau Castle is the centre-piece of Pau’s decorated history, being the birthplace of Henri IV, King of France and Navarre. From the Empress’s Chambers to the Renaissance Gardens, you will find nine centuries of memories within, and surrounding its walls. The Castle features one of the largest tapestry collections outside of Paris, numerous, exquisite pieces of furniture and the tortoise shell which was used as a cradle for Henri IV. Cross the Gramont Bridge to access the Castle, admiring the stunning view of the Pyrenees in the distance.
5. The Castle Quarter is a collection of Medieval and Renaissance buildings re-structured in the 16th, 18th and 19th centuries. Rue du Chateau features a number of private mansions and residences, each with their own story to tell. Visit the House of Sully (Peyre House) and touch the lucky door-knocker, see where Jean de Gassion, Marshal of France was born, wander over to Place des Etats, and then onto one of Pau’s oldest streets, Mill Street (Rue du Moulin).