The cheese “factory” of Jurançon
It is not possible to visit the “cheese factory”, and Jurançon is much better known for its wines than for its cheese, but about wine, it will be in another tip. Two kilometres after having left the circular road around Pau you will see on your left, the cheese factory: big inox tanks, trucks unloading milk . . . well not a very nice view if you think (picture 4) of food, but go straight to the little shop at the entrance of the factory. There, lots of milk products are sold, of which is the famous “Chaumes” (picture 2) a soft cheese, and the Etorki, an industrial version of the Basque and béarnaise sheep cheese. There are lots of others (picture 3) but I call them “plastic cheese” and by far prefer to buy and eat traditional cheeses I will tell about later when we will be higher in the valley. The steel containers and the trucks do not really call for appetite. . .
Leaving Pau on the RN 134
When you leave Pau southwards you pass the . . . Henri IV bridge, crossing over the Gave and follow the main road; the road if flat, it is easy to go fast ahead, and just have a glimpse left to the castle (picture 1) and right to the river banks (picture 2) where Tony Estanguet twice Olympic gold medal on slalom canoe uses to train. after the bridge is the “Croix du Prince area”, left and right not so nice buildings you are on a hurry to leave for the mountains you can see on the skyline between the buildings (picture 3). Then an industrial and commercial area, where the traffic is dense (picture 4) and you have to take care of the cars (they usually do not take care of you!) until the first hills on the road sides just spoils the view. Getting out you see the first vineyards and the signs (picture 5) indicating the directions for the chateaux were they are produced.