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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 surrounded by the royal flags and can still be seen today.
The history of the castle goes back to the 14th century when it was built by Gaston Phébus Later on in the 16th century is was completely transformed into a Renaissance palace by Marguerite d'Angouleme the sister of King Francois I of France. The H and M monograms that can be seen in the staircases, in the garden or in the castle's window are the reminders of its first august restorers Marguerite and her husband Henri d'Albret the grandparents of King Henri IV. In the 19th century the interior of the castle was changed again under Louis-Philippe and Napoleon III.(One of the changes made was the movement of the furniture from room of the actual birth of Henri to the third level and conversion of the second level room in a reception area)
The castle exhibits an impressive collection of tapestries - one of the most valuable in France dating mostly from the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV - paintings dating from 16th up to 20th centuries, Second Empire furniture, and Sèvres porcelains.
September 16 to June 14: 9h30am to 11h45 am and 2pm to 5pm (last admission 5pm)
The museum is closed only on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th.
... to think that a baby king, 500 years ago, slept there is quite something!
Please advise me by email: Is the Castle of Henry IV open on Sunday, September 15, or Monday, September 16, 2013?
Ann Corbusier Coates