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Pau

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Pau is a city in Pyrénées-Atlantiques.

Understand

The town was fortified in the 11th century, and the château de Pau was the birth place of Henri IV of France. Pau has a population of around 85,000.

Pau is the capital of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques and encompasses the Basque and the Bearn people. It is a perfect base to explore Southwest France and the Pyrenees mountains.

Get in

By train

There is a train station very near the centre. Outside, there is a "funiculaire", which will carry you and your luggage to the main area, which is higher then the station. If you arrive or depart very early or late, the 'funiculaire' will probably not be open. There are a couple hundred stairs instead. Trains come and go from the destinations you would expect, Paris, Bordeaux, Bayonne, etc.

In addition to the local trains, Pau is a stop on the TGV (high speed train) service to Paris with stops in Bordeaux. It takes approximately 5 hours to go from Paris to Pau on the TGV.

By plane

Direct flights from:

  • Brussels - 3 flights per week with Ryanair - flying time 1hr 50min
  • London Stansted - 2 flights per week with Ryanair in winter. 1h 55m flying time.
  • London City - several flights per week with CityJet. 2h 05m flying time.

For an airport transfer, taxi, bus or coach from Biarritz Airport to Pau use Biarritz Airport Transfers [1]

Get around

See

  • Le château de Pau - the birth place of Henri IV of France. Beautiful architecture. It can only be seen on hourly guided tours which are only given in French. It is free on the first Sunday of every month. Guided tours are usually very informative and well planned, the permanent collection and the château being in constant renovation. Unlike many French Chateaux, the Chateau de Pau is fully furnished.

Do

Buy

There are many large chain stores in the centre at Place Clemenceau- H&M, Fnac, Quiksilver/Roxy, Galeries Lafayette, etc. There are also smaller shops in the streets surrounding it. There is a large market, typical of French towns, in a hall somewhere near the centre (sure, you can find out when you get there). In it you can buy a lot of fresh foods.

Eat

Just opposite the main gate of the chateau there is an creperie with outside tables. It is an excellent place to soak up the sun and admire the architecture.

The brasserie 'Le Berry' on rue Gachet offers a variety of French and regional fare in gigantic portions for unbelievably low prices. The steak tartare, magret de canard, fish, and salads are especially good. Be sure to order half portions as these are generally larger than the normal-sized portions at other restaurants. This is always packed with locals so you may be forced to wait a few minutes for a table.

The restaurant 'Le Goxoki' is a basque restaurant and offers several local dishes such as 'La poule au pot'. The portions are large enough to fill a rugbyman's appetite (there are lots of rugby-based items in the restaurant).

Drink

Le Garage is a british themed bar rather near the center of town. It has decent 'pub-grub' food, but the reason to go is to meet French college students with an interest in meeting English speakers.

Sleep

Get out


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