Skiing in the Pau area
Favorite thing: If you are in the Pau area in Winter, and if you like skiing (or just mountain and snow. . .. . ), there are a number of possibilities to go for some good downhill ski, and there are some places for cross country ski (but in mountain); I do not tell about ski-trekking which is also an activity some people practice here around (club alpin)
The ski resorts I write about are between 1 and 2 hours drive from Pau, so it is possible to go skiing just one day and come back to Pau.
Other possibility is to go for several days, but then you need accommodation, which can be found either in the resorts or in nearby villages.
The most important tip I can give for this is as follows: if you come from outside France and are really interested to go skiing in the Pyrenees, avoid the school holidays periods; during that time the resorts are crowded and the prices are high!
School holidays in France until 2010 (unfortunately in French):
Another very interesting tip (I guess) is to buy cards for a week in one resort or if you want to try several, buy the N’PY card, which gives access to 5 resorts (Gourette, LaMongie-Barèges, Peyragudes, La Pierre St Martin, and Luz Ardiden) for special prices.
The N’PY website in general: http://www.n-py.com/
And for instance you can try these two options:
5 days in one resort:
5 days in whatever resort, and not necessarily 5 consecutive days:
Check the N'py website, for more information.
There are other ski resorts not belonging to the N’PY group, and there is good skiing too (Artouste, Cauterets, Gedre-Gavarnie and others).
In all ski resorts there are at least 2 equipment hiring shops, and generally (well, I only rented once, I have my own equipment) the material is in good shape.
Fondest memory: In many resorts there are ski-schools, for all levels, if you want to learn or improve: the good and official one is: ESF (Ecole du Ski Français), and you can book here: http://www.esf.net/fr/ecoles/reservation.php, again in French, but it seems easy
I cannot give tips about accommodation, as I live in the area, and when I go for several days I have special offers through my office; and on the web there are a lot, I do not know how reliable they are.
For general information about accommodation, I guess, the best is to check with the tourist office in Pau
Office municipal du tourisme
they are working on an English version of their website. . . .
Adresse : Place Royale 64000 PAU France
Tél. : 05 59 27 27 08
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Site : www.pau-pyrenees.com
A general remark about Pyrenean ski resorts: they are very “popular”, in the sense they are not frequented by the must be seen here like the luxury alp resorts. It is not as prestigious as the Alps, but the important is ski, not to show or to be seen, and the tracks are as good (as proof, there are some champions (France or even more coming from the Pyrenees where they learned skiing)
main picture : Tourist office near the city hall.
picture 2:Gourette, bottom of tracks
picture 3:La Pierre St Martin; high on the tracks.
picture 4: Try to avoid school holidays or you will endure queuing; . .
picture 5: High on Luz Ardiden
- Skiing and Boarding
NIGHTLIFE and QUARTIER LIBRE
Favorite thing: 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.
- Budget Travel
Pau, capital of Béarn
Favorite thing: Pau is pronounced 'POH' in French, but 'POW' by the people of the Béarn. I found it very easy to orientate myself. There is a parking place under the Boulevarde de Pyrenees. Come to the surface, face one way and you're looking at the mountains. Turn right and you're looking along the Boulevarde de Pyrenees. Turn right again and you'll see a square in front of you. At the other end of the square is the main street with tourist office.
A very pretty & pleasant city, with lots of good places to eat.
The crest doesn't of course refer to H.I.V AIDS but to Henry IV. The image refers to the seasonal movement of livestock to and from higher pasture, known as 'Transhumance".
- Arts and Culture