The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...
Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France
Today this marvel of 19th century engineering is a must-do amble with its mountain panorama and direct access into historic squares such as Place Royale, hub of the city since the 18th century, and Square Georges V, created in the 1920s and ‘30s. Hang over that famous balustrade to see a reminder of the French cyclists who have passed through Pau on the Tour de France; their names and dates are painted on the tarmac of Avenue Napoléon Bonaparte beneath. The upper and lower levels are linked by steps or a lift, but the most unusual transit is on board the free funicular. Installed in 1908 to link the town centre with the railway station on the banks of the Pau de Gave, it runs every three minutes from early morning to midevening, afternoons only on Sundays. At the foot of the Funicular near what was once the city’s cycle race track, 104 bronze totems tell the story of the Tour de France with anecdotes and archive photos. Pau hosted the event for the 71st time in 2019 and every year, a new totem is added to Le Tour des Géants to celebrate the winner. Castles, towers and legends The Boulevard des Pyrénées comes to an end beneath Pau’s most emblematic monument, the gleaming white Château de Pau with its turrets, towers and balustrades. Significantly altered across the centuries, the castle saw the addition of a defensive brick keep by Gaston Fébus in the 14th century. But its current appearance is largely due to significant 19th-century restoration under Louis- Philippe.
Look out for the Tour de la Monnaie, set slightly apart, and home to a royal mint until the French Revolution. And look down onto the geometric patterns of the Renaissance Gardens. Then head across the deep ditch via the Pont d’Honneur to the courtyard and main entrance. Inside, the birthplace of Henri de Bourbon – later Henri III of Navarre and Henri IV of France - houses rich collections of drawings, paintings and sculptures, plus an important collection of Louis XIV and Louis XV tapestries. Opposite the castle entrance, the Hotel Sully is one of several mansions in the Quartier du Château. Legends has it that brushing the Basset Hound door-knocker will mend a broken heart. More imposing buildings line Rue Joffre, formerly named simply Grande Rue, and now one of an increasing number of pedestrianised streets in the town centre. But head down the steps behind the castle to discover the Hédas district, one of the oldest parts of the city and recently given an urban makeover. Women once came here to fetch water from the Hédas brook, which now flows underground. Today, a pleasant walkway links play areas and tiny parks, nestled beneath the backs of multi-storied properties facing the mountains. Pau is full of surprises and I discovered one of its best on Rue Tran, which runs parallel with Rue du Hédas. Just take a right up Rue des Cordeliers. Here the Musée Bernadotte recalls the extraordinary life of Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, a humble solider born in Pau in 1870 who rose to become
further afield. The average price o
Annecy However, the Alps remain the
How banking in France is going digi
our digital age requires data; hist
Chateau du Rivau The Chateau du Riv
Chateau de Chenonceau The white fa
Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau Standing
Royal Fortress of Chinon The royal
This time of the year in my little