Pau, located in the southwestern part of France, is a charming city known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and elegant architecture. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, or indulging in delicious cuisine, Pau has something to offer. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Pau, France.
1. Château de Pau
Start your exploration of Pau with a visit to the iconic Château de Pau. This beautiful castle served as the birthplace of King Henry IV of France and now houses a museum dedicated to his life. Explore the regal rooms, admire the impressive collection of artwork, and take in the panoramic views of the Pyrenees Mountains from the castle’s terrace.
2. Boulevard des Pyrénées
Stroll along the famous Boulevard des Pyrénées, which offers breathtaking views of the Pyrenees Mountains. Lined with palm trees, cafes, and shops, this promenade is the perfect place to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, and take in the picturesque scenery.
3. Parc Beaumont
Escape the city bustle and head to Parc Beaumont, a tranquil park located near the city center. This beautifully landscaped park features manicured gardens, a picturesque lake, and charming walking paths. Enjoy a leisurely picnic, rent a paddleboat, or simply unwind amidst nature’s beauty.
4. Funiculaire de Pau
Image Source: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funiculaire_de_Pau
Take a ride on the Funiculaire de Pau, a historic funicular railway that connects the city center to the Boulevard des Pyrénées. As you ascend, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of Pau and the surrounding landscape. It’s a unique and enjoyable way to get around the city.
5. Musée des Beaux-Arts
Art enthusiasts should not miss the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Pau. Housed in a beautiful building, this museum showcases an impressive collection of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from various periods. From medieval art to modern masterpieces, the museum offers a diverse range of artistic treasures.
6. Jardin des Sens
Experience Pau’s gastronomic delights at Jardin des Sens, a renowned restaurant that has been awarded Michelin stars. Led by the Pourcel brothers, this culinary gem offers innovative and exquisitely prepared dishes using fresh, local ingredients. It’s a must-visit for food lovers looking to indulge in a memorable dining experience.
7. Pyrenees National Park
Nature enthusiasts will be thrilled to explore the Pyrenees National Park, which is located near Pau. This vast park boasts stunning mountain landscapes, picturesque valleys, and abundant wildlife. Hiking, mountain biking, and skiing are popular activities, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Pyrenees.
8. Wine Tasting
Pau is located in the heart of the Jurançon wine region, known for its exceptional white wines. Take a tour of local wineries and vineyards, and indulge in wine tastings to discover the unique flavors and aromas of the region’s wines. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about the local viticulture and savor some exquisite wines.
9. Palais Beaumont
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Visit the Palais Beaumont, a grand palace located in the Parc Beaumont. This magnificent building serves as a convention center and cultural hub in Pau. Admire its elegant architecture, attend exhibitions or events, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the park.
10. Quartier du Hédas
Take a stroll through Quartier du Hédas, a charming neighborhood in Pau known for its narrow streets, traditional houses, and vibrant atmosphere. This historic area offers a glimpse into Pau’s past with its picturesque buildings, local shops, and quaint cafes. It’s a delightful place to explore and soak up the authentic ambiance of the city.
11. Musee Bernadotte
Image Source: https://www.pau.fr/article/le-musee-bernadotte
Learn about Pau’s connection to Napoleon Bonaparte and its historical ties to Sweden at the Musee Bernadotte. Housed in an elegant mansion, this museum displays artifacts, documents, and personal belongings of Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, who became King Charles XIV John of Sweden. Gain insights into the fascinating history and diplomatic relations of Pau.
12. Les Halles de Pau
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Immerse yourself in the vibrant food culture of Pau at Les Halles de Pau, a bustling covered market. Browse through the stalls offering fresh produce, local delicacies, cheeses, meats, and more. Engage with the friendly vendors, savor delicious samples, and soak up the lively atmosphere of this food lover’s paradise.
Image Source: https://www.golfstars.com/fr/golfs/pau-golf-club-1856
Golf enthusiasts will find several exceptional golf courses in and around Pau. Enjoy a round of golf amidst stunning landscapes, rolling hills, and breathtaking views of the Pyrenees. The Pau Golf Club, Golf de Billère, and Golf Blue Green Pau-Artiguelouve are popular choices for golfers seeking a challenging and scenic golfing experience.
14. Fête du Roi de l’Oiseau
If you happen to visit Pau in September, don’t miss the Fête du Roi de l’Oiseau, a vibrant medieval festival that takes place annually. Witness colorful parades, medieval reenactments, music, dance performances, and street entertainment. The festival brings the streets of Pau to life and offers a unique cultural experience.
15. Excursions to nearby attractions
Pau’s strategic location makes it an excellent base for exploring the surrounding region. Take day trips to nearby attractions such as Lourdes, famous for its religious pilgrimage site; the charming town of Oloron-Sainte-Marie, known for its medieval heritage; or the picturesque village of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, a starting point for the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.
16. Maison Carrée
Visit the Maison Carrée, a stunning neoclassical building located in the heart of Pau. This architectural gem was designed by the famous French architect Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and is now home to a cultural center. Admire its beautiful facade, explore the exhibitions, and attend performances or events hosted in this historic venue.
17. Le Parc Lawrence
Escape to Le Parc Lawrence, a serene park named after the famous poet D.H. Lawrence, who spent some time in Pau. This peaceful green space offers tranquil walking paths, lush gardens, and a lovely lake. It’s an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or simply unwinding amidst nature.
18. Musee des Parachutistes
Delve into the world of parachuting and military history at the Musee des Parachutistes. Located within the Pau Airbase, this museum displays a remarkable collection of parachuting equipment, aircraft, and historical artifacts. Discover the bravery and achievements of airborne troops through engaging exhibits and informative displays.
19. Boulevard des Arènes
Explore the Boulevard des Arènes, a vibrant street in Pau known for its lively atmosphere and diverse range of shops and boutiques. From fashion to home decor, you’ll find a variety of stores to browse and indulge in some retail therapy. Take a break at one of the trendy cafes or restaurants along the boulevard for a refreshing beverage or a delicious meal.
20. Balade Royale
Take part in the Balade Royale, a guided walking tour that allows you to explore Pau’s historical sites and discover its intriguing stories. Led by knowledgeable local guides, the tour takes you through the city’s fascinating past, from medieval times to the present day. Learn about Pau’s architecture, royal connections, and notable figures while enjoying an informative and entertaining experience.
21. Hélios Quartier
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Visit the Hélios Quartier, a modern district in Pau that showcases contemporary architecture and urban design. Marvel at the striking buildings, innovative structures, and public spaces that combine aesthetics with functionality. The Hélios Quartier exemplifies Pau’s commitment to architectural innovation and urban development.
22. Eglise Saint-Martin
Explore the Eglise Saint-Martin, a beautiful Gothic church located in the heart of Pau. Admire the intricate architectural details, stained glass windows, and the serene atmosphere of this religious site. Take a moment for quiet reflection or attend a religious service to experience the spiritual side of Pau.
23. Enjoy Local Cuisine
Pau is known for its exceptional cuisine, influenced by both French and Basque traditions. Indulge in local specialties such as Jurançon wine, foie gras, Basque-style dishes, and Pau’s famous Garbure, a hearty vegetable and meat soup. Visit local restaurants, bistros, and brasseries to savor the authentic flavors of the region.
Places and Things To Do