Before a hiking tour, a visit to the market.
Of course, no need to go for a hike if you want to go to the market; just telling that if you want to have a good picnic during the day, I recommend to buy food here early morning, rather than to buy plastic food in a supermarket!
The central market (Halles de Pau) is open every day (except Sunday) from 7:30a.m. to 1:30p.m.
There are two main sections, one for the producers, peasants, gardeners, and another section where you find, meat, fish, and general grocery.
In the peasants section, you find vegetables, fruits, etc, and home made cheese, the wonderful Pyrénées cheese, never the same from one producer to the other, other cheeses, milk, eggs, etc. . .
People there are very kind, always have some kind word or something more to give you (I never buy parsley or celery leaves, but I have always when I come back from the market!).
In the Other section, fresh fish from St Jean de Luz is always available and there is lots of choice; of course, oysters every Saturday during the “R” months (Oysters are good during the months which have a “R” in their names), tuna fish from St Jean, etc. . .
Plenty of butchers, pork-butchers and local specialists of poultry, with fat ducks, geese, and chicken from the Landes.
Some exotic fruits and vegetable vendors are here also, spices, etc, etc. . . it would take pages to describe, I better comment a few pictures.
The main picture, shows the peasant market in September. On picture 2 is my favourite cheese producer, December 2006.
The fish vendor (September 2006) weighting mussels on picture 3 has always a nice smile and after weighting adds some stuff to make “bon poids”! (good weight!).
Delicatessen during Christmas time are shown on picture 4, and poultry on picture 5.
Well, ready for the picnic? Delicatessen, sausages, ham, cheese, fruits, just have to buy some bread, and there we go for a hike, hope the weather god will be kind!
Milk production Pau
This is where all the milk related products from those cows are mixed and packaged..;It brought into focus that we humans actually feed from cow milk once we become older eneough to stop breast feeding from MAMA!
Have a rest in the Parc Beaumont
The parc Beaumont is the place where the Palois (Pau inhabitants) go when sun comes back in spring. Not only do they enjoy the spring, but in summer the shades of the big trees make it a place where to get a bit fresh air, because summers can be very hot here in South Western France.
This parc was created at the same time as the Villa Beaumont, from land properties of local nobles, including the Noailles family, of which you certainly know the famous poetess Anna de Noailles. The landscaping architect Henri Martinet, in 1898, took advantage of the topography and the location on the belvedere to create a parc where the view is open everywhere and in the same time, there are hedges, trees, shrubs, which almost never prevent from far views. Birds on the water, young people on the grass, music kiosks, all here tends to serenity.
On the 21st of June (spring, fete de la musique in France), during all night local groups perform music in the parc and the ambiance, the short time I spend there on that occasion is quite . . . interesting!
Second floor: the cradle of Henri IV
Ah, finally, I can tell about the legend of the baptism of Henri IV. This legend says, when he was born, he received a Bearnaise baptism: his grandfather Henri de Navarre rubbed the baby’s lips with a garlic clove and dropped some Jurançon wine on his mouth. On the main picture you see a turtle shell which was the cradle of Henri IV; the decoration is of course more recent. Before entering this room you have gone through the Bourbon cabinet (oh, by the way, Henri IV was the first Bourbon on the throne of France), and the Marquet de Vasselot room, where a painting of Henri IV featuring the god Mars is represented. (picture 2), then the antechamber and the bedroom of Jeanne d’Albret, mother of Henri IV where , again 19th century furniture is displayed.
And before leaving the chateau apartments look through the windows and look at the high towers and walls, and the mansarde windows decorations.?
Visit inside possible only with a guide
Entrance fee: 5 €
Free for young people until 17 and free every first Sunday of the month.
Open throughout the year, every day except: January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th
September 16th to June 14th:
9h30 - 11h45 / 14h - 17h
June 15th to September 15th:
9h30 - 12h15 / 13h30 - 17h45
Little village of Momas, the chateau
This village is known for its chateau, signs indicating its direction on the road from Pau; ,well it is a mansion rather than a castle, but a little nice one, with a medieval garden.
Momas is located on a hill and from far you see only the castle and the church (main picture ).
The castle has been bought as a ruin by the actual owner and renovated with the support of the French ministry of Culture (that is why it is possible to visit it, the ministry, in France helps if there is a public “compensation”, i.e. possibility for the public to visit); the result outside is not bad (picture 2).
When I visited, only the basement was open for visits and there is some interesting furniture, either original from the house or brought in; here (picture 3) is a renaissance fireplace with strange wooden wine press screws making the pillars.
View on garden and mountains through an old glass window on picture 4.
The owner herself, a 87 years old lady welcomes you in her dining room; notice at the back the notches in the stone door frame, to put a bar to close the door. (picture 5)