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Tourist Sites in and around Pau

Tourist sites and attractions within a radius of km* from the city center

* The distances are point to point and not driving distances!

At around: 0 km

Pau Castle Pau Castle is the birth place of King Henri IV of France. At that moment the castle was the property of Henri' sgrandfather Henri II d'Albret King of Navarre. The legend says that when baby Henri was born his grandfather rubbed a clove of garlic and a drop of Jurançon wine on his lips in order to protect him from diseases (Jurançon is to this day the most famous wine of the region). The baby was placed then in a cradle made from a turtle shell - believed at that time to bring long life to bodies placed inside! This famous shell was placed by King Louis XVIII - Henri's direct descendent - during restoration period on a majestic pedestal...
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At around: 0.18 km

Bernadotte Museum It is in Pau that Jean Baptiste Bernadotte was born on the 26 January 1763.
This Marshal of the French Army under Napoleon I was elected in 1810 to succeed King Charles XIII of Sweden who had no heirs. The Bernadotte dynasty that he founded is still on the throne of Sweden.
The house where Jean Baptiste was born, called "Balagué" houses now the Bernadotte Museum. With its collection of furniture, documents and portraits it evokes the incredible destiny of this son of Bearn....

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At around: 6.21 km

Lescar Cathedral  - The necropolis of the kings of Navarre The Notre-Dame cathedral of Lescar was built initially built in the first part of the 12th century. It is a remarkable roman art masterpiece.
The cathedral is the resting place of the Kings of Navarre. Among them Francois Phoebus dead in 1483 - the first Navarre King to rule over united territories of French Navarre, Spanish Navarre, Bearn and the County of Foix -, Marguerite d'Angouleme the famous writer, sister of King Francois I and grand-mother of King Henri IV, dead in 1549 and Henri II d'Albret her husband King of Navarre dead in 1555.
The Cathedral features also a very interesting mosaic dating from the 12th century and representing a Moor warrior with a wooden leg.
The legend says that the builders...

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UNESCO Heritage List At around: 23.05 km

Sainte Marie Cathedral, Oloron-Sainte-Marie Sainte Marie Cathedral of Oloron-Sainte-Marie is listed since 1999 in the UNESCO’s World Heritage along with all the religious monuments on the route to Santiago de Compostella.
It is a monument that combines Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles.
The cathedral was built starting from the beginning of the 12th century on the order of Gascon IV, Viscount of Bearn on his return from the Holy Land Crusade.
The building was partially destroyed and rebuilt in the 13th and 14th century and was considerably enlarged in the 18th century.
In the 14th century the cathedral was added the chevet (part behind the altar) composed of the ambulatory and 5 radiating chapels. In the 18th century one of these chapels - the Saint Grat - was...

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At around: 31.5 km

Navarrenx Navarrenx is the oldest "modern era" anti-artillery fortified town of France.
While the site was probably inhabited since the 1st century AD the first written mention of the existence of Navarrenx dates from the end of the 11th century.
In the 13th century the town under the leadership of Gaston VII de Moncade, Viscount of Bearn, builds a stone bridge - its main arch is still standing! - over the Gave d'Oloron, that flows on the town's outskirts and a weekly open market is set up - the market is still held every Wednesday morning!
In the middle of the 16th century Henri II d'Albret, King of Navarre overhauls the town's fortification. He entrusts the task to the architect Fabrizio Siciliano of...

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UNESCO Heritage List At around: 32.19 km

Hopital de Saint Blaise Hopital de Saint Blaise is a tiny village - population 80!- situated in the middle of a wooded area, some 5 km (3 miles) from the national road that links Oloron to Navarrenx .
The Hopital de Saint Blaise 12th century church is listed in the UNESCO's World Heritage along with the other monuments on the route to Santiago de Compostela.
The church's unique architectural style mixes Romanesque and Moorish traits.
The two most outstanding features are the cupola with its 8-pointed star - a Hispano-Moorish characteristic - and the simple but beautiful entrance door tympanum presenting Jesus Christ surrounded by the representations of the 4 evangelists. ...

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Grands Sites de Midi-Pyrénées At around: 34.7 km

Lourdes Sanctuary The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes was built around the Grotto, on the banks of the Pau River, where Virgin Mary appeared 18 times to the young girl Bernadette Soubirous between February 11th and June 16th 1858.
The shrine covers 50ha and is one of the biggest of the world. It consists of many sites including the actual Grotto were the apparitions took place, the Rosary Basilica, the Crypt, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the Massabielle Spring holy water taps and baths and the Way of the Cross.
The Crypt was the first to be built; dug inside the rock above the Grotto and inaugurated in 1866 in the presence of Bernadette. The Crypt houses a reliquary...

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At around: 35.76 km

Pic du Jer Pic du Jer is a 948 meter high hill overlooking the town of Lourdes and the Bigorre plains. It is accessible via a funicular railway* built in the last years of the 19th century.
The funicular trip lasts between 6-10 minutes, it moving at a maximum speed of 11km/hour.
From the top of Pic du Jer the visitor can admire also view the of the central Pyrenees Mountains range, the Pic du Midi, the Vignemale etc.
At the end of the Ice Age some 15,000 years ago the melting ice formed a grotto on the top of the Pic du Jer that was inhabited by the prehistoric man. The grotto was opened to the public in 1958 and is entrance...

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At around: 38.58 km

Jeanne Albret House Built initially in the 15th century as a house-fortress and enlarged in the 16th century The House of Jeanne d’Albret was given to her and to her husband Antoine de Bourbon in the 16th century. It was supposed to serve the kings of Navarre as a house-retreat when Pau was threatened by epidemics.
The house is now the address of Orthez Tourist Office at its first level of the Protestantism Museum at the second level.
Other attractions in Orthez beside the "House of Kings" are the old bridge and the Moncade Tower.
The beautiful old bridge was built in the 13th century by Gaston VII de Moncade the King of Béarn.
Orthez being one of the routes towards Santiago de Compostelle the bridge...

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At around: 39.69 km

Chateau Laas A Laàs Castle was initially built in the beginning of the 15th century. In the beginning of the 17th century the seigniory of Laàs, at the time the property of Jean de Laàs, comrade-in-arms of King Henri IV, is elevated to a barony, one of the 17 of baronies of Bearn. The nowadays castle was built in the 17th century.
The chateau sits in the middle of a 12 hectares park featuring gardens "à la française", an "Italian" garden, little ponds and centennial trees.
The castle houses one of the most beautiful art collections in the Aquitaine region of France including paintings by Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Breughel, Rubens, Fragonard, as well as tapestries and furniture dating from the 17th and 18th century (including the...

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At around: 47.25 km

Sauveterre de Béarn Sauveterre de Bearn was during medieval times not only a stronghold protecting the independent Earldom of Béarn from its mighty Spanish neighbor but also a safe place for the pilgrims on their route to Santiago de Compostela.
The town is first mentioned in a written document in the 11th century.
It was a residence of the Viscount of Béarn Gaston VII de Moncade who built here a castle. The castle, later enlarged by Gaston Phebus, is now unfortunately just a melancholy triggering ruin!
The most impressive historic vestige is arguably the100 feet high (33 meters) Monréal Tower built in the 12th century as a defense as well as live in structure.
On the north west side of the tower is located the Saint André...

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At around: 48.47 km

Salies de Béarn Salies de Béarn owes its existence, prosperity and it's… name to the salty spring - 10 times more salty then the sea water - that runs by.
According to the legend the spring was discovered after a boar hunt when a killed boar was discovered several days later perfectly preserved, its fur covered in salt crystals ( hence a boar on the badge of the town ).
Salt being a very prized commodity in ancient times, a concession system was started in 1587 with only around 500 concessionaires called "Part-Prenants" being allowed to extract the salt (the concession system is still in place today).
Today the source of salty water - called "la crypte du Bayaa" and situated almost under the...

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At around: 49.36 km

La Verna Cave La Verna cave is one of the 10 biggest caves of the world and THE biggest open to public.
It is situated on the territory of the the commune of Sainte-Engrâce in the department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques of the southwest of France, only a 5 minutes drive from the Kakuetta Gorges.
La Verna cave is a part from an underground labyrinth called La Pierre Saint-Martin karst.
The 194 meters (636 ft) high and 245 meters (820 ft) in diameter cave was discovered in 1953 by a group of Scouts from Lyon that was calling itself "La Verna Troop". They say that its volume is 10 times the volume of the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Paris!
The cave is made accessible by a man made...

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At around: 49.69 km

The Town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre Bagnères-de-Bigorre is a town of just over 8,000 inhabitants – called “Bagnérais” - situated in Hautes-Pyrénées department of south west of France.
As its name says (baignade means bathing) it is a spa town that was founded around the hot springs by Roman occupants in the first years of Christian era.
Throughout the centuries the town follows its region history: is handed over temporarily to the English during the Hundred Year War, and as a part of Navarre Kingdom becomes temporarily protestant when its Queen Jeanne d’Albret – the mother of King Henri IV – converts to Protestantism in 1560.
On June 21, 1660, Bagnères-de-Bigorre was shuck by a strong earthquake whose replicas lasted 3 weeks.
The earthquake that is...

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