NIGHTLIFE and QUARTIER LIBRE
The nightlife in PAU is very interesting and enjoyable if you are in the right company with the locals. The location in the pic is where you can do everything from shopping to restaurants, and nightclubing. The popular Bario Libre is here and the night club operates up to 6am in the morning.
Steep tracks at Gourette
Here is first Gourette, on the road to the Col d’Aubisque (see my Larunspage).
This resort is about 1 hour drive from Pau.
Directions: South Route Nationale 134 and after Laruns, turn left.
There are big parking lots near the resort, and you will have to park there and go by bus; schedules are +/- every 10 mn, from 9a.M; to 5 p.m. The bus brings you very close to the tracks; there you have to buy your tickets or if you had bought one previously, just go.
There are maps of the tracks, at the ticket booth, and also on posters.
One technical difficulty for not so skilled skiers: most of the resort tracks are on north face (we are on the northern side of the Pyrenees): it means it may happen that parts of tracks are ice, and on 50degrees slopes you can imagine. . . . ; it is only on few spots. Check the “colours” of the tracks, they give classification: green, easy, then blue, red and black. Black is quite technical.
main picture Up on the tracks,; it is cloudy in the plain but here, bright sun! And not too many people on the tracks.
picture 2: With fine weather, you sit outside for a lunch, at the feet of the tracks.
picture 3: The track (here it is called Pene Blanque) almost for you alone! Sometimes, with fine weather, good snow, there is almost nobody there, waowwww! Just slide down. The resort is very far down, and in the middle of the picture is an intermediate station for chair lifts.
picture 4: View on the resort from the “Chalets d’Ossau” chalets residence where I stayed in winter 2006 for a week. The chalets are close to the road and the bus stops if you wave.
picture 5: There are even Taliban going for ski; this one is standing near an information board, about weather, avalanches, and other useful infos.
Look also on the other side of the boulevard!
Aristide de Monpezat, mayor of Pau decided to create the Boulevard des Pyrenees in 1876, a road on the cliff (belvedere seems a more suited name), linking the Château to the Parc Beaumont; this link was originally created for the patients of health resorts in Pau, who could easily go from the chateau to the Parc, enjoying fresh air and the view.
Walking on the boulevard, you eyes are always attracted by the view to the mountains; look on the other side of the street, there are buildings to look at and strange statues; I do not have information about these statues which decorate the lower part of the Place d’Aragon, just could identify Heracles. On your way from the Chateau to the Palais Beaumont, it may be a stop on the Boulevard. But your eyes will always look south and have new views of the mountains (picture 5)
The Église Saint-Martin is probably the first church that every visitor to the city enters. It is a large and centrally-located building, steps from the Château and the Place Royale, which is why I say that it's likely the first one anyone notices. I remembered it from the first trip that we took to Pau, when I was struck by its size and, more importantly, the fact that it I picked up a few religious pamphlets in Gascon dedicated to the older parishioners who still used the language. Now that I am more mature (I hope), I decided to revisit the church to see if there was actually more to admire than just its size and its Gascon-language services (this time around, however, there were no signs or pamphlets in any language other than standard Parisian French). The church is in the neo-Gothic style, having been constructed in the latter half of the 19th century, and it has the usual dark, cavernous interior that is associated with Gothic and neo-Gothic structures. The real beauty is in the stained glass, as there are many examples of this art medium, with the real crowning jewel being a stained glass rose that tells the story of Saint Martin. Given that there are relatively few visitors (there was only a Spanish couple there at the same time as me), you are likely to be able to enjoy this stained glass and other examples in relative quiet.
I like to look at the balconies of some houses in Pau, not sure it is typical from here, but they are so different in size, style, location on the building! Rue Corisande on the main picture, another on a popular building rue Samonzet (picture 2), two others between Rue Barthou and Boulevard des Pyrénées (picture 3 and 4) ; the last one near Rue Carnot . The strange long balconies are in popular areas, on long buildings, the more elaborated ones in richer areas.