Pau Local Customs

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Most Recent Local Customs in Pau

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    A Day at The Races

    by kokoryko Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Future winner?
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    Since I live in Pau, I was twice at the races, and, if not fun as in the Marx Brothers movie, as a totally non-competent and non-involved (I do not bet) I find it interesting to spend one or two hours in this special ambience, walking around, and watch as much at the people as at the horses. . . .
    Pau is a quite important place for races in France with 30 “meetings” per year, and, mainly in Winter. The Pont Long racecourse and the Sers Equestrian centre are the second equestrian complex of France just after Chantilly. The Steeple chase is said to be one of the most feared in Europe! I am not specialist. . . . I just tell for the interested people that the races are important, and yes, I have some fun watching. . . .
    The following website http://www.hippodrome-pau.com/calendrier/fr_contenu.asp gives the dates for the meetings.
    More information about the racecourse on the website below.

    I look at the race of course (picture2), but the horses ran too fast for my cheap camera that cloudy day, and steeple chase is more spectacular live (Picture3), but I also like to walk around, look at the horses when they are prepared for the race just before they are geared (Picture4), or look just before the race, when the riders are concentrating (Picture 5). . .

    HIPPODROME DE PAU
    462, boulevard du Cami Salié
    64050 PAU Cedex 9

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    A Day at The Races (cont. . .)

    by kokoryko Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Gallery is full !
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    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

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    Public Restrooms

    by mikey_e Written Dec 30, 2008

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    Les WC

    Ah, what would a trip to a French city be without acquainting yourself with the public restrooms? This is a cleverly disguised one - and one that requires payment to use. If you know that you can't hold it very long, make sure that you have plenty of small change. These booths aren't cheap, and they don't accept cards or bills.

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    Modern vintage

    by kokoryko Written Jul 1, 2007

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    Rain makes nice phot patterns. . .
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    Modern vintage, I mean that the cars here are less than 10 years old; these are formula 3000 cars and they are quite powerful vehicles. As like most of the time during that week end, it rained and the cars just threw water from their wheels (main picture ), and they take the curves cautiously (picture 2 and 3). Good they have red light when they brake, the follower may see there will be a turn very soon (picture 4). . . .
    These cars are tuned and prepared like formula one cars (picture 5)


    Free where access is allowed or 10-12 Euros for access to the paddocks or galleries; 17 Euros for the week end.

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    Grand prix de Pau Historique: gentlemen drivers

    by kokoryko Written Jul 1, 2007

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    wheeled torpedo!
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    There is also a race for the “gentlemen drivers”. This is a race with cars powered with monocylinder engines, and the cars look generally like wheeled torpedoes; they do not go very fast and they look more like soap case rather than racing cars.The engines, making prrrrt, prrrt, transmit movement to the wheels via chains and at the end I think these things are closer to four wheeled motorbikes rather than to car. . . if this could be. . . On the main picture it looks really like a wheeled torpedo. Another torpedo on picture 2 , and a group of those taking the turn up the palm grove (picture 3). Having a close look to these vehicles show that the drivers comfort is really minimal (picture 4 and 5) as the mechanic seems to be very simple (I like mechanics without electronics!).
    Free where access is allowed or 10-12 Euros for access to the paddocks or galleries; 17 Euros for the week end.

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    Grand prix de Pau historique: the old roadsters.

    by kokoryko Written Jul 1, 2007

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    Ferrari roadster
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    If I had to tell which car I like the most, these ones would be my choice; the roadsters from the sixties like the Ferrari on the main picture , but the other ones on pictures 2 and 3 look very nice; they also make a lot of noise, but I have a little preference for them because they look so old-fashioned but also so powerful, compared to the cars with the engines at the back.
    And there are much older cars, which I did not see compete like the Ferrari on picture 4 and this GT car looks nice as well ( picture 5)

    Free where access is allowed or 10-12 Euros for access to the paddocks or galleries; 17 Euros for the week end.

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    Grand prix historique: vintage car races.

    by kokoryko Written Jul 1, 2007

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    Station turn
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    The last week end of may, are vintage car races in Pau, and it is fun to look at some of the old fast cars.
    There are mainly old formula 1 cars and grand prix cars from the 5ties to 7ties ; other cars were also running this year but the weather as usual in Bearn, totally unpredictable, was quite capricious and it rained a lot!
    Here (main picture ) are formula one from the sixties, turning at the railway station turn. From the tyre type of this car (picture 2) you can suspect it is raining, or at least it is not far from raining, and here on the ascent of the palm tree grove the pack (picture 3) is projecting water , making a sort of a fog on the street. Great names of motor racing are on the two last pictures.

    http://www.grandprixhistorique.com/

    Free where access is allowed or 10-12 Euros for access to the paddocks or galleries; 17 Euros for the week end.

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    Grand prix de Pau; a walk in the paddocks.

    by kokoryko Written Jul 1, 2007

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    Cleaning and reshaping tyres
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    For me walking between the stands and workshops is at least as much interesting as the races (not only because of possible encounters like the two from the last picture of the previous tip!!!); there is a special ambience, a special busy ambience. And I was amazed how people worked here with high technology and also very basic work; I even remembered when I was “tuning” my Citroen 2CV, 25 years ago, some gestures are still the same, only the cars are not (really not!) the same.


    main picture : Cleaning tyres with hot burning iron! Did you think of doing it on your own tyres?
    picture 2:Preparing the car, changing wheels, checking brakes. . . .
    picture 3: A view through spokes of a wheel, and busy mechanics.
    picture 4: What is this guy checking in the engine?
    picture 5: Cleaning the wheels has to be done very carefully it seems.. . . .

    Entrance fees: from 10 to 50 Euro per day, depending where and when.

    Asac Basco Béarnais
    1 bd Aragon
    64000 PAU
    tel. 05 59 27 31 89
    fax. 05 59 27 61 69
    A.S.A.C.BASCO-BEARNAIS@wanadoo.fr

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    Mit’Jet series and Peugeot spider

    by kokoryko Written Jul 1, 2007

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    Peugeot spiders
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    Grand prix de Pau, Mit’Jet series and Peugeot spider
    Other cars race during the week end in Pau. The Mit’Jet are rather small and spectacular cars, interesting to watch, expecting a crash(which luckily did not happen), and the spiders are strange unusual cars. Just a few pictures.


    main picture The Peugeot spiders at the upper end of the “palmeraie” (Palm tree grove).
    picture 2:Mit’Jet on the Poeymirau descent just after Parc Beaumont.
    picture 3: Mit’Jet on the Poeymirau descent just after Parc Beaumont.
    picture 4: In the parc Beaumont; in the background is the Hotel du Parc Beaumont; there are night races, the residents must be happy. . . eh, yes, because almost all hotels are occupied by people coming for the races. . . . .
    picture 5: Did these two walking between the stands come because of their interest for mechanics and the cars or for the drivers. . . .?

    Entrance fees: from 10 to 50 Euro per day, depending where and when.

    Asac Basco Béarnais
    1 bd Aragon
    64000 PAU
    tel. 05 59 27 31 89
    fax. 05 59 27 61 69
    A.S.A.C.BASCO-BEARNAIS@wanadoo.fr

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    Grand prix de Pau. International formula masters.

    by kokoryko Updated Jul 1, 2007

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    Last words before start
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    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
    64000 PAU
    tel. 05 59 27 31 89
    fax. 05 59 27 61 69
    A.S.A.C.BASCO-BEARNAIS@wanadoo.fr

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    The Grand Prix IS a local custom

    by kokoryko Written Jul 1, 2007

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    smoke when braking!!
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    Grand prix de Pau.
    Last week end of May and first week end of June, the traffic in Pau is more congested as usual : a part of the streets are used for the Grand Prix. Pau is one of the last places where car races are run in the streets of the city (like Monaco).
    In the past great champions won (or lost) in the Pau grand prix (Jim Clark, Graham hill, and others) and among the recent ones Montoya, Hamilton (future great?) also ran in Pau.
    The last week end of may, it is the vintage car races and the first week end of June, it is the modern races, with some races being part of world or Europe championships.
    On of the most important races is the WTCC (World Touring Car Championship), with cars of the type on the main picture ; the organiser of the grand prix is the Automobile club Basco Bearnais (picture 2); the circuit is probably a very technical and interesting one ( sharp curves but also steep climbs and descents), and the cars roar through the Parc Beaumont (picture 3) located on the high part of the circuit, down to the rail station area and up again. This year was the first time I watched the grand prix, and I am always amazed by the dexterity of the pilots who make the curves strait (picture 4), but sometimes it does not work and this pilot had less luck (picture 5).

    Entrance fees: from 10 to 50 Euro per day, depending where and when.

    Asac Basco Béarnais
    1 bd Aragon
    64000 PAU
    tel. 05 59 27 31 89
    fax. 05 59 27 61 69
    A.S.A.C.BASCO-BEARNAIS@wanadoo.fr

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    Lou Carnaval Biarnes !

    by kokoryko Updated Mar 14, 2007

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    Crowd place de Verdun
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    Ah, Carnival, nothing very original, and. . . Rio, Nice, Cologne, etc. . . are so well known, what is special here to put in a VT tip?
    Carnaval is :
    Singing, dancing and merry-making until you drop
    Happiness, laughter and tolerance
    Dressing as a woman when you're a man
    Dressing as a man when you're a woman
    Wearing a mask and disguising your voice
    Denouncing unfairness and the world's leaders
    Making fun of the sour-pusses, the snobs
    Letting go, rebelling, making your fantasies run wild
    Showing that you're proud to be Bearnais, should you be born here or elsewhere
    It is a bearnese carnival, with special protagonists and lasts about one month long ; the city loves her carnival, and there is “something in the air” during carnival time.

    The story of Carnaval Biarnes, programs, past carnivals, are on this website I recommend to look at if you come to Pau during carnival time.
    http://www.carnavalbiarnes.fr/
    Things are happening in the city here or there, program can also be found at the tourist office, and. . . just ask or follow people, specially on evenings.
    mainpicture On one Saturday, many people gathered Place de Verdun (Planta Alta in Bearnese), the colourful disguised crowd is there.
    picture 2POMMM-POOOOOM-POOOOOoooMMM, how to “translate” the deep sounds of the helicon, and the drums? Many music bands participate to the carnival. The bands are amateurs, of course, gangs of friends, and lots of other groups either make music, or choose a theme for the parade like on next pictures.
    picture 3:Tchancayres (stiltwalkers): these are special ones probably telling about death and hell, given the colours and seen only from back, the wolf head.
    picture 4: Dancers with colour ribbons, an example among lots of others (next tip, may be)
    picture 5: Who are these princesses behind their masks or paintings?

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    Some more Carnaval Biarnes, and at night.

    by kokoryko Updated Mar 14, 2007

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    Entrance of a tent, better to be disguised!
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    As written in the previous tip, the Carnaval happens also at night. Music on the streets and music, dance, drinks, in a big tent on Place de Verdun. Except drinks, it is all free. At night also is the bear hunting (see website), the burning of St Pançard, the evil “patron” of this carnival. I am not tourist here and during day I am supposed to work, and, well, I will try to participate to the bear hunting next time (as a bear, because, it is something like girls try to catch the boys more or less disguised as bears. . . )

    main picture % Here at the entrance to the tent at night, lots of nice encounters can be done. . . and it is a lot of fun.
    picture 2% a This butcher. . . not sure he drank only water tonight !
    picture 3: These are also pigs strolling around during carnival;
    picture 4: Ah as the French elections for president are coming soon (well, 2 month), some people even disguise and mock the politicians; the names are written in Bearnese, and I like a lot Sarkozy as Schtroumpf des banlieues (suburbs smurf, as a reference to the unrests in some French suburbs last (2005) winter where he explained his conception of law and order.
    picture 5: Some random pictures taken on a Saturday; giant figures, disguised people, good mood, . . .

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    Before a hiking tour, a visit to the market.

    by kokoryko Written Dec 30, 2006

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    Peasants market
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    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!

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    Garbure! What is this?

    by kokoryko Written Dec 30, 2006

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    Giant pan
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    Easy! It is a soup, a thick Bearnaise soup, the one all restaurants have on their menu, and you never have the same, even in the same restaurant, from one day to the other! Well, you understand there is no fixed recipe, and each chef or family mother (father sometimes, not all Bearnais are machists!), has his own way to cook it, and to choose the ingredients to do it.
    As examples, here are 3 recipes you can find on the web, but there are many more:
    http://www.cuisine-recettes.com/pages/recette.php/garbure.html
    http://www.supertoinette.com/recettes/garbure_daniele_de_in.htm
    http://www.meilleurduchef.com/cgi/mdc/l/fr/recettes/garbure_bearnaise.html

    You notice they are a bit different in the way of preparation, but there are compulsory ingredients: Tarbais beans (big white beans), garlic, confit duck (duck preserved in its own fat), duck or goose fat, cabbage, . . . etc. A very light meal in fact!
    Well, I tell about this because it is a very popular dish and you can even find it on the streets, for instance at festivals, like on the pictures here which were taken during a fair in Pau, and there is some folklore with, with local musicians and singers.
    The main picture shows a giant pan where this soup is prepared; garlic is compulsory: (picture 2). The musicians are animating the stand here, (picture 3), and have a rest with a glass of. . . Jurançon probably, (picture 4 and 5).

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Pau Local Customs

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