Nestled in the corner of rural south-west France stands Pau, the capital of the Béarn region and bastion of history and culture. The town occupies a unique geographical position in the foothills of the Pyrenees. With its awe-inspiring views of the mountain range, Pau is only a few hundred kilometres from the major towns of Bourdeaux and Toulouse and even closer to Spain and the Atlantic Ocean. A springboard to sunny beaches, snow-capped mountains, Pau’s pretty streets and excellent gastronomy are enough to ensure leaving will be difficult.
Population
85,000
Currency
Euro (EUR) €1 = 100 cents
Weather forecast
+4 ...19°C
Pau offers many historical attractions like the impressive Chateau de Pau and museums displaying interesting art and heritage. If you would like to go for a longer excursion you will also find a wide range of splendid cities and villages around Pau. The combination of castles, beautiful architecture, English style gardens and fun activities makes this town well worth exploring.
Pau Château Museum

As a defining symbol of the town, Pau Château Museum was the birthplace of Henri IV and originally built in 1370. The castle became a museum in 1926 and here you will find important collections dedicated to Henri IV and its royal apartments.

​Address: 49 rue Etienne Marcel, Pau​Phone: +33 559 823 802 ​Website: http://www.musee-chateau-pau.fr​Opening hours: Open 15th October-31st March 7.30am-6.30. 1st April-14th October 7.30am-8.30pm​More info: Free entry
Boulevard Des Pyrénées

Kick back at one of the many pavement cafés or restaurants you can find on this famous boulevard. Boulevard Des Pyrénées is great for a relaxing walk and lets you quietly take in one of the best views in the world.

​Address: Boulevard des Pyrénées, Pau
Musée Bernadotte

Located in a 18th-century house, this museum dedicated to the Frenchman called Jean-Baptiste Jules Bernadotte who rose from the lowly ranks of the Gallic army to become King of Sweden.

​Address: 8 rue Tran, Pau​Phone: +33 559 274 842​Opening hours: Open 10am
Pau Racecourse

Enjoy a day out at the races, French-style, at the Pau Racecourse. It is also knows as the Hippodrome de Pau and is an age-old, traditional racecourse with a 3,500 capacity stadium. Its main season is during the winter.

​Address: 462 boulevard du Cami Salié, Pau​Phone: +33 559 130 700​Website: http://www.hippodrome-pau.com
Wine Tasting in Jurançon

If you like wine you can sample the local tipple at one of the numerous estates that run south of Pau towards the mountains. You should look for dégustation (tasting signs) when travelling the area. You can also go on organised, tailor-made tours.

Exploring The Béarn Region

For exploring some of the picture-postcard villages that surround Pau you can rent a car or hop on the bus. Two of the most beautiful examples of places to go are Salles-de-Béarn and Sauveterre-de-Béarn.

Lourdes

Go twenty minutes south on the train and you will find yourself at one of the holiest sites in the whole world. Each year seven million pilgrims visit the basilicas of the Cité Réligieuse, Lourdes. Do not miss visiting the castle fort, the Pic du Midi de Bigorre and The Gavarnie Cirque.

​Address: Lourdes, France
Musée des Beaux Arts

This well-organised fine arts museum is located in a beautiful building from the 1930's. Musée des Beaux Arts houses many masterpieces made by household names like El Greco, Degas and Rubens.

​Address: 1 rue Mathieu Lalanne, Pau​Phone: +33 559 273 302​Opening hours: Open every day 10am-6pm, closed for lunch 12/12.30pm-2pm. Closed on holidays
Skiing in the Pyrenees

The Pyrenees ski resorts are easily accessible from Pau if you want to go on a ski holiday. The Pyrenees are more affordable than the Alps when it comes to passes and hire. You can reach the different destinations easily by buses and shuttles.

Bord de Gave

Ever wondered where the Béarnaise sauce came from? Everything started with an unsuccessful sauce made in Henri IV’s kitchen. The sauce was named after Henri IV that was born in Pau, the capital city of Béarn. Today you can visit Bord de Gave, a shop selling the Pau Béarnaise sauce.

​Address: 4 rue Jeanne d’Albret, Pau​Phone: +33 547 925 200​Website: http://www.bord-de-gave.fr​Opening hours: Open Mon 1.30pm-7pm. Tue-Sat 10.30am-7pm. Closed on Wednesdays
The funicular de Pau

The funicular de Pau is a small railway running from le boulevard des Pyrenees to the railway station and mainly functions as a service for the locals. The ride takes about 3 minutes and is perfect for children who will love this small train going up and down.

​More info: Free
Casino de Pau Groupe Tranchant

Located in the heart of the city in a renovated building, the Casino de Pau has much to offer if you feel like going out at the casino. Onsite you will find a restaurant and a lot of entertainment throughout the year.

​Address: Parc Beaumont, Pau​Phone: +33 559 270 692​Website: http://pau.groupetranchant.com
Canyoning

In the mountains you can find the stunning canyons hidden away from the tourist trails. Canyoning is an exciting sport that will really give you a rush out of the ordinary. There are different activities for everyone to suit all tastes.

​Address: 13 bis route de Bayonne, Pau​Phone: +33 608 214 578​Website: http://www.experience-canyon.com
Clos Lapeyre

Clos Lapeyre is one of the wine yards you can find in Jurançon if you make a detour around Pau to explore the area. This wine yard is highly recommended and offers tasty wines and beautiful sceneries.

​Address: La Chapelle de Rousse, Jurançon​Phone: +33 559 215 080​Website: http://www.jurancon-lapeyre.fr
Circuit Pau Arnos

If you fancy cars and motorbikes you might want to go on a detour to Circuit Pau Arnos. This place is located a bit outside Pau and here you can experience different events and happenings.

​Address: Circuit Pau Arnos, Pau​Phone: +33 559 771 136​Website: http://www.circuit-pau-arnos.fr
Pau, and the Béarn region, is famed for its cuisine. As with other parts of south-west France, it is the duck that dominates. Other specialties in Pau include foie gras, tender slices of duck breast (magret de canard), cured ham (jambon de Bayonne) and creamy mountain brebis cheeses. The Palois like a good stew too, often a garbure béarnaise containing, you have guessed it, various cuts of duck, potatoes and white beans. Poule au pot, a whole chicken cooked in a pot with onions, potatoes and wine is also popular and all washed down with a dry Jurançon.
Ze Bistrot

This sweet little restaurant is located just a few metres from the château. The décor at this restaurant is turn of the century Parisian and the food is of high quality and gives you excellent value for money.

​Address: 13 rue Henri IV, Pau​Phone: +44 559 274 444​Website: http://www.zebistrot.com​Opening hours: Open Tue-Sat 12pm-1.30pm and 7.30pm-9.30pm
Chez Olive

In a pretty wooden building in the old part of town, Chez Olive serves traditional food with a modern twist. Coming here you should try the signature dish, the poule au pot, as it is highly recommended by its customers.

​Address: 9 rue du Château, Pau
L’Aragon

This restaurant has great views of the mountains from its outside tables. Dishes at the restaurants include grilled salmon in Béarnaise sauce and veal. The food is served by the friendly and welcoming staff.

​Address: 18 boulevard des Pyrénées, Pau​Phone: +33 559 271 243​Website: http://www.brasserie-aragon.fr
Le Jeu De Paume

Haute cuisine at its finest can be found in this restaurant nestled in the resplendent grounds of Parc Beamount. Here you can discover inventive modern dishes meeting traditional gastronomy from chef Christophe Canati. Starters you can choose between include smoked salmon and Aquitaine caviar.

​Address: 1 avenue Edouard VII, Pau​Phone: +33 559 118 400​Website: http://www.hotel-parc-beaumont.com
Le Mas Des Arômes

Le Mas Des Arômes serves a creative and inventive cuisine. The interior of this restaurant is sleek and modern with beautiful wooden tables. Here you will receive high quality service and meet friendly staff.

​Address: 4 place du Foirail, Pau​Phone: +33 559 024 493
Le Saint Jacques

This is another great restaurant in the old part of town. The menu focuses on fish and local specialities like grilled lobster and grilled tuna with roasted vegetables. During summers you can sit on the outside terrace and during the winters you can enjoy the cosy fireplace.

​Address: 9 rue du Parlement, Pau​Phone: +33 559 275 897 ​Website: http://www.lesaintjacques.org
Le Canard Royal

The Canard Royal is a hidden gem and very popular among its guests. The restaurant specialises in duck and has many different dishes to choose between. The dishes are not only delicious, expect a beautiful presentation too.

​Address: 13 rue du Moulin, Quartier du Chateau, Pau​Phone: +33 559 840 826​Website: http://www.lecanardroyal.com
Les Papilles Insolites

With a nice twist to the traditional French dishes, the stylish Les Papilles Insolites serves original food accompanied by great wines. At this restaurant you should really seize the opportunity to try one of the many wines offered in this cosy place.

​Address: 5 rue Alexander Taylor, Pau​Phone: +33 559 714 379​Website: http://www.lespapillesinsolites.blogspot.se
La Fiancee du Desert

The Lebanese and Armenian gem called La Fiancee du Desert is to be found in the heart of Pau. The restaurant is described as good priced with a quirky interior. Here you can try different dishes from the oriental cuisine like falafel, baklava and many other specialties.

​Address: 21 rue Tran, Pau​Phone: +33 559 272 758​Website: http://www.la-fiancee-du-desert.com​Opening hours: Open Tue-Sat 12pm-2pm and from 7pm
Le Bistrot d'a Cote

With attention to detail, this restaurant delights its customers with local, fresh produce. You can find Le Bistrot d'a Cote in the old town and the prices are claimed to be very reasonable in comparison to similar places.

​Address: 1 Place Gramont, Pau​Phone: +33 559 279 808​Website: http://lebistrotdacotepau.free.fr​Opening hours: Open 12pm-2pm and 7.30pm-9.30pm. Closed on Wednesday evenings, Saturday afternoons and Sundays
Ai-Vy

If your taste buds are longing for something else but French food, you can visit Ai-Vy, a highly recommended restaurant in the middle of town. This restaurant serves a wide range of Vietnamese food like spring rolls, salads and pancakes.

​Address: 8 rue Adoue, Pau​Phone: +33 559 712 734​Opening hours: Open Tue-Sat 12pm-2pm and 7pm-10.30pm
Le Lavoir

The highly recommended Le Lavoir is a restaurant superbly located near the castle in the old part of town in Pau. The chefs of this restaurant will bring you great dishes that are presented beautifully.

​Address: 3 rue du Hedas, Pau​Phone: +33 559 833 262​Opening hours: Open Tue-Sat 7pm-11.30pm
La Table d'Hote

In the old part of Pau you will find this little gem. You might have to look carefully because this place is claimed to be hard to find. La Table d'Hote is very popular among the guests and coming here you will find yourself in a traditional, charming restaurant serving French food.

​Address: 1 rue du Hedas, Pau​Phone: +33 559 275 606​Opening hours: Open 12pm-1.30pm and 7.30pm-9.30pm. Closed on Sundays and Mondays
L'Opera

This friendly, good value restaurant is located on 10 rue Samonzet. At L'Opera you can choose between a wide range of dishes like different burgers, salads, pizzas, starters and main courses.

​Address: 10 rue Samonzet, Pau​Phone: +33 559 277 318​Opening hours: Open Mon-Fri 10.30am-10.00pm. Sat 10.30am-2.30pm
Au fin Gourmet

In Les Jardins de Joantho you can find the fine dining restaurant called Au fin Gourmet. This stylish restaurant offers a great, memorable meal in a perfect and natural setting.

​Address: 24 Avenue Gaston Lacoste, Pau​Phone: +33 559 274 771​Website: http://www.restaurant-aufingourmet.com​Opening hours: Open Tue-Sun noon. Closed on Sunday evenings, Mondays and Tuesday mornings
After a long day of sightseeing in Pau you can relax in a coffee shop that offers a wide range of good food and pastries. Some of the places offer outside terraces where you can enjoy your coffee and cake.
L'Isle au Jasmin

L'Isle au Jasmin is a lovely salon de thé (tea house) that serves a number of varieties of teas and lots of tasty patisseries. Here you can sit outside on the deck chairs and enjoy yourself while having great views over the city.

​Address: 28 Boulevard des Pyrénées, Pau
Café L’Entropie

This café and bar is located on 27 Rue Bernadotte in Pau. Café L’Entropie hosts various literary and scientific discussions and all events are open to the public. This place is great for relaxing and having a cup of coffee.

​Address: 27 rue Bernadotte, Pau
Pau's Café

Pau's Café is located in the heart of the historic city of Pau, near the castle of Henry IV. This genuine and cosy café has been operated since 1989 and offers a wide range of high quality coffees and teas.

​Address: 34 rue Maréchal Joffre, Pau​Phone: +33 559 278 485​Website: http://www.pauscafe.fr
Café Grand Prix

Café Grand Prix is located in the Hotel Parc Beaumont. On the menu you will find dish of the day, chicken, salads, sandwiches and desserts. Here you can enjoy you food and drink on the outside terrace if the weather allows.

​Address: 1 avenue Edouard VII, Pau​Phone: +33 559 118 400 ​Website: http://www.hotel-parc-beaumont.com​Opening hours: Open every day 11am-12am​More info: Hotel Parc Beaumont
Patisserie Saint-André

In this cake shop you will find many delicious cakes, pastries, cookies and much more. In fact, Patisserie Saint-Andre offers 32 varieties of cakes and a wide selection of chocolate. To top this, everything is home made with high quality.

​Address: 49 rue Henri Faisans, Pau​Phone: +33 559 277 362​Website: http://www.patisserie-saint-andre.fr
Bar culture is an integral part of the Pau experience. The Palois like to go out, and when they do, they want a diverse scene to choose from. Locals like to take their time over a demi pression (beer) or a glass of wine. There are plenty of places for a drink in Pau. Pau might be a relatively small town but it sure knows how to party. The bars that line the Boulevard des Pyrénées also double as clubs. The music is gradually cranked up as night turns to early day. For the super club experience you can head out of town to the Quartier Libre, or as many locals do, hop on the train to Pamplona/Iruña.
La Tireuse

La Tireuse is claimed to be the best bar in Pau for those who take their beer seriously. Here you will find a massive selection of draught and bottled beers from France and Belgium accompanied by comfortable armchairs and great ambience.

​Address: 2 rue Bourbaki, Pau
Le Galway

This Irish themed bar is extremely popular with young people and students. Le Galway is open until the early hours at weekends and offers live sports, concerts and theme nights.

​Address: 20 boulevard des Pyrénées, Pau​Phone: +33 961 059 214
Le Garage

A few minutes walk from Place Clémenceau you will find Le Garage in an area known as Le Triangle. This is a large, popular bar with a good range of drinks and decent, good value food.

​Address: 47 rue Emile Garet, Pau​Phone: +33 559 837 517​Website: http://www.legaragebar.com
New Red Lion

The themed pub/bar called New Red Lion is the best place in town for playing some pool and darts. The pub is described as a very nice place with friendly staff who welcomes you here with a smile.

​Address: 8 rue Lapouble, Pau
Le Zénith

This could be one of the best places to see live music in Pau and is located in the north of the city. Le Zénith has secured many international stars and French-speaking acts like Johnny Hallyday.

​Address: Boulevard du Cami Salié, Pau​Phone: +33 559 807 744​Website: http://www.zenith-pau.fr
Pau’s main shopping area is concentrated behind the symbolic Boulevard des Pyrénées. The Place Clémenceau has some stylish boutiques and similar shops can be found on the roads that shoot off the square, notably rue Maréchal Foch, Cours Bousquet and rue du Château. Other good streets for local gifts and clothes are the pedestrianized areas of rue Serviez and rue Cordelières with shops including Zara, Nature and Kokaï. The Centre Bousquet is a great shopping centre with many stores conveniently found under the same roof including Champion supermarket, a chocolate shop and FNAC, Pau’s largest store for books, CD's and DVD's. For local produce and gift shops the little streets such as rue Henri IV of the Old Town are the best. Pau, just like the nearby Bayonne on the Atlantic coast, is famous for its chocolate products and numerous little shops can be located all around the town. There are also a number of excellent “boulangeries artisanales” (bakeries) selling croissants and baguettes. Les Halles, a massive indoor food market, is also worth a visit.
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