The city of Lescar was thriving 1000 years before Pau was begun. This was the center of Bearn at that time. In the early 12C the cathedral of Lescar was built. Its most attractive elements are the Romanesque12C capitals lining the nave and the modillions on the outside of the chevet. We have more listed under Lescar itself.
I think that I may have given the impression that Pau is a lacklustre attraction. That's not entirely true. Certainly, I wouldn't suggest to anyone that they should plan for a week-long vacation here. Neverthteless, if you are in a comfortable hotel, away from the rowdy and sleazy newer parts of town, I think that it could be quite enjoyable to spend a night or two here. One of my favourite parts of Pau is wandering the small streets behind the Castle. These are not the touristy historic centre of the city, but they probably preserve the old Béarnaise charm far better than the parts suggested by the Tourist Office. They go up and down and have the sort of grey stone buildings that you come to expect from the Western Pyrénées. There are also a few interesting modern structures that have sought to preserve the harmony of the area. The best part to wander in is north of Marechal Joffré, west of the Place de la Libération.
I'm not sure if there is really any significance to Place Verdun, or if it is really just a regular square with shops and a hotel and restaurants, but for some reason it took my fancy while I was wandering about Pau. It is a fairly heavy traffic area, so it's not that it was tranquil and relaxing. Rather, I think that it was because of the arcades, which always seem to interest me. Go figure. If you too have a think for arcades, perhaps you should plan to include the Place in you list of things to do in Pau.
In truth, this is not really an "off the beaten track" tip, as you are likely to spend a fair amount of time on or around the Boulevard des Pyrénées if you, like me, are visiting the city's historical centre. Nevertheless, I found that I only really saw the Belle Époque mansions because I was going between the various well-publicized monuments, and stopped to take pictures only because my leg was bothering me and it made for a good rest stop. Pau is rather odd in that there appears to have been a number of redevelopments in what would otherwise be considered a historical setting. The mansions along the Boulevard des Pyrénées are an excellent example of this. Taking advantage of the spectacular view afforded by this street, the wealthy decided to build magnificent homes that were to rival the hedonism of Biarritz and the Basque Coast. Obviously, unlike in Biarritz, that atmosphere has not remained in Pau, but the pretty Belle Époque villas are still there, slightly rotted by the intense humidity (enough to give them character, but not make them crumble). This is definitely something you should stop to appreciate in order to understand fully the patchwork and mosaic development of this forgotten capital.
The Place de la Libération is within walking distance of the Place Royale and the Château, but somehow it feels that, unless you are specifically wandering about the city, you are unlikely to go here and see it. It is obviously more modern than the historic core of Pau, but that doesn't mean that it is without charm. Bounded on one side by the Église Saint-Jacques and the Palais de la Justice in neo-Classical style on another, this Place has much more a feeling of a typical French city than does the Place Royale. In addition, its remaining two sides are dominated by shops and commercial spaces, making it feel much more lively than the historical centre of the city. There is not much to specifically see here - a monument dedicated to the liberation of France and the Palais de la Justice, which I assume that you cannot enter - but it still provides a pretty break for sightseeing. Sit back at a café and enjoy the atmosphere. There's also a bookstore specializing in Occitan and Gascon subjects, as well as the usual religious goods stores that you typically find across from large churches.
In PAU, I was amazed that one could have the hair braided, just as if you are in Africa. This shop is at 41 rue Montpensier, and it belongs to a Nigerian lady who is well regarded in PAU. She could do wonders with ladies hair, Nails and Facials..so, when you are in PAU you can visit here for that special African touch.
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!
What most people don't know about PAU is that they produce more milk perhaps more than any other place in France. In the picture are the producers. lol!
We visited one of the most successful farmers in Europe, and it is amazing what these farmers do with these cows in the picture...The cows are milk factories on their own.