A Day at The Races (cont. . .)
At the races, the horses are interesting but the people in the audience are worth a look too!
First of all, it seems in Pau, people like to go to the races as you see on the main picture where the 3500 places gallery is crowded.
Interesting characters can then be observed here or there, with all sorts of people in the audience from very young to old, wearing hats, caps, or just hair. . . (picture2).
Binoculars are of course a must at the races (pictures 3and 4). It is not as “chic” as in Longchamp or Auteuil (the most famous Parisian racecourses) but interesting hair make-up can be seen here or there. . . . (picture5)
HIPPODROME DE PAU
462, boulevard du Cami Salié
64050 PAU Cedex 9
In PAU, I was amazed that one could have the hair braided, just as if you are in Africa. This shop is at 41 rue Montpensier, and it belongs to a Nigerian lady who is well regarded in PAU. She could do wonders with ladies hair, Nails and Facials..so, when you are in PAU you can visit here for that special African touch.
One thing that I've always found rather strange about Pau, although perhaps it shouldn't be considered strange given the city's history, is that it clings to memories of the Ancien Régime and the royalty as if it were a British provincial town. Usually, streets, monuments and squares are all named with Revolutionary vigour in French towns, but not in Pau. The Place Royale is yet another example, and one that, if you come to Pau by train, you are certain to meet. It is a beautiful little square that overlooks the Pyrénées just where the Funicular stops, and it includes an impressive Renaissance Hôtel du Ville, a pretty 19th century Gazebo and a statue (to whom it is dedicated, I can't remember and I can't read the inscription on the photo). This is also where the Tourist Office is (just beside the Hôtel du Ville) and there are a number of restaurants and cafés that line the sides of the Place. These are fairly reasonably priced compared to the other restaurants in the newer parts of the city. The centre of the Place is crushed gravel, so make sure that you have closed shoes!
The Museum of Fine Arts is really worth a visit
The brochure of this museum says it is one of the biggest museums of Aquitaine.
Located in a 1930 style building, it is a bit an eclectic museum, with paintings from the 15th to 20th centuries, of various origins (Dutch and Italian mainly, with of course, local and French paintings). Many sculptures and modern art are also displayed. The museum organises also thematic temporary exhibitions (2-3 per year).
Not easy to tell about all what is in this museum in one tip; the entrance is quite impressive with the monumental Deveria flanked by the smaller paintings and sculptures on the left and right stairs (main picture). On the basement you will discover 2 Rubens (picture 2) on the left and late Italian Renaissance paintings on the right. You will not find Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe but “le Déjeuner dans la serre” from Louise Abbeme above a A. Boucher sculpture (picture 3), better seen from the stairs, with other paintings around.; from the other stair you may like these 3 beauties (Tango from Berges,on the right, a “Bacchante” by Etcheto, and the more anonymous Dupuy (Mme Chinon et son colley) on the left (picture 4). Upstairs right you may admire this “wedding in Laruns” from local painter Capdevielle (picture 5).
Entrance: 3 Euros
Le chemin Henri IV
Henri IV again! this time it is the Henri IV path; well, let us call it a trail. This trail links Pau to Lourdes far from the main roads, goes through woods and fields, crosses some villages, is generally located on a crest line north of the Gave de Pau river. From there you can have wonderful views over the Pyrenees, even with stormy weather, all along the path, except , of course when you are in the woods.
This trail begins at Bizanos, in a Eastern suburb of Pau, at the Chateau de Franqueville (picture 2), you reach from the RD 938 (Route Départementale 938) linking Pau to Lourdes; you can go up by car to this chateau, and park there.
Then, you have choice, between you feet (for a small distance) or take a bike, and then go East, following the signs (picture 3). The path is easily practicable by bike (picture 4), except some short muddy or stony places . On the way, you find big posters proposing you alternate routes if you do not want to make it until Lourdes (picture 5).
I make the suggestion to make the travel one way, 35 km (walking: 7-8 hours, biking, 2-3 hours), and come back by train, as there is possibility to carry on a bike in some trains; check the time table at the railway station.
You can see on the weblink below, it is also possible to reach this path on several places, where you can leave your car and see some curiosity not far.