Grand prix de Pau. International formula masters.
International Formula Masters cars are like the former Formula 3 cars, more or less (What competent people tried to explain me). I was myself not interested in the race itself, but liked to walk in the stands with my journalist colleagues of the day, and near the curve of the rail station.
main picture : Few minutes before start, last cars go into they slots and last advices from engineers. . .
picture 2: red cars but not Ferrari; my “colleagues” are making pictures.
picture 3: The pack after start; hell of a noise and lots of dust, small stones and rubber projected into the air; would like to tell about the smell also, mixture of burned rubber, petrol, . . . . .
pictures 4 and 5 : in the curve of the railway station, two fast cars, but I have no idea which one won. . .
Entrance fees: from 10 to 50 Euro per day, depending where and when.
Asac Basco Béarnais
1 bd Aragon
tel. 05 59 27 31 89
fax. 05 59 27 61 69
La Mongie – Barèges : the biggest
This is the biggest ski resort in the western Pyrenees and there is a lot of variety of tracks from the very gentle tracks following roads to the very steep black tracks with some thrilling bump-skiing places.
La Mongie – Barèges is covering two sides of the mountain North of the Neouvielle massif ; ski lifts come up from both sides to the col du Tourmalet (Tourmalet pass) which separates the two original resorts which now are one; it is very fun to ski on both sides, but as the roads are closed between La Mongie and Barèges, be very careful on: if you stay, or if you car is on one side, be sure to be on top of the mountain before the ski lift stops working (usually 5 P.M.)
Also, on windy days the ski lifts stop with very short notice; ask weather conditions at the attendants before to dive on the other side of the mountain.
To get there from Pau: drive to Lourdes (visit to the Virgin, and other saints another day. . . ), follow direction Argeles-Gazost, then direction Pierrefite Nestalas, then Luz St Sauveur, and finally Barèges. Ouf! This is the way to the westen side of the resort.
For the other side, from Tarbes, follow Bagnères, then La Mongie
main picture ski lift from Barèges to Tourmalet; morning light and condensation trail. I forgot the name of this formation from the condensation trail.
picture 2: On the tracks above La Mongie
picture 3:Small restaurant in La Mongie; there are plenty restaurants at the feet of the tracks, and it is good to have a break, even for a snack, before going back enjoy the slides and glides.
picture 4: On windy places, few snow is left; on the mountain you can see the domes and antennas of the Pic du Midi astronomical observatory; it is possible to get there in summer or winter with a cable car. Special tip on this observatory to come. . . .
picture 5: La mongie resort, not specially good weather that day.
Jurancon is home to a very delicious sweet white wine which is the perfect accompaniment to foie gras. It isn't far from Pau and it is nice to walk around the vineyards, especially in summer, and taste the produce at the various domaines up there.
Close to the walls.
Let us get closer through this postern (fortified door) on the Northern side of the Chateau; the peaks here are recent ones, but I can imagine the rusted ones from the middle age. . .
The Tour Billère (picture 2) is in front us, construction of stones, bricks and pebbles, these last ones a traditional construction material in Bearn, where they are removed from the fields (the plough then, gets better through) piled on the borders of the fields and then transported to places where they are used for building purposes.
With the chateau on our right side we walk in the former trench which surrounded it and come opposite of the main entrance where the Donjon looks impressive (picture 3).
Then you arrive on the southern side of the chateau where the path is laid out with arbours, and where you pass by “la tour de la monnaie” (picture 4), an outpost fortified tower. Nowadays there is a lift in this tower allowing direct access to the Chateau from the parking located near the Gave River down the Chateau.
And finally we arrive at the west side where we have a view at the Mazeres and Louis Philippe towers from close, and we meet Gaston Phébus, an emblematic character in Bearn History. Gaston Fébus (or Phébus), built the brick donjon and left a signature on one of its walls: Gaston mé fé (Gaston m’a fait in French, Gaston made me in English). Gaston Phébus, also known as Gaston de Foix, was, in the 14th century, during the 100 years war between France and England, ruler of territories which “belonged” either to the king of France or the King of England, and managed to keep integrity of Bearn.
The old Roman style outside.
After having listened to the Ave Verum, let us have a look outside; unfortunately, it is not possible to walk around the church as a private yard goes against the church..
There is a series of modillons under a chessboard frieze on the northern side of the church. These modillons represent generally monster type characters; there is no detail in literature I found about, but there is certainly a description and explanation for each of these strange characters. I photographed a few of them; they remind me the ones from Lescar , of course (see Lescar tips).
Various modillons are on the main picture and picture 2. Details of a chapiter on picture 3, and on picture 4, a modillon: a strange animal is swallowing a kneeing man it looks like?
The last picture, we go out (or is life always a new beginning, we go in. . . ), the main entrance door under the bell tower.