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Pau’s dazzling Renaissance chateau, rich in Gobelins tapestries and Sèvres porcelain, is worth a look round and, if time is heavy on your hands, have a peek into one of city’s handful of esoteric museums. Importantly, two destinations – one sacred, the other secular – lie within easy striking distance of Pau. The former is Lourdes to the southeast, where the Catholic faithful believe the Virgin Mary appeared some 18 times to a young shepherdess in 1858 and which has now become a very important Catholic place of pilgrimage. The latter is the sprawling Parc National des Pyrénées, which harbors an abundance of rare flora and fauna. Its 350 km ...

Pau’s dazzling Renaissance chateau, rich in Gobelins tapestries and Sèvres porcelain, is worth a look round and, if time is heavy on your hands, have a peek into one of city’s handful of esoteric museums. Importantly, two destinations – one sacred, the other secular – lie within easy striking distance of Pau. The former is Lourdes to the southeast, where the Catholic faithful believe the Virgin Mary appeared some 18 times to a young shepherdess in 1858 and which has now become a very important Catholic place of pilgrimage. The latter is the sprawling Parc National des Pyrénées, which harbors an abundance of rare flora and fauna. Its 350 km (217 miles) of marked trails, including the GR10 linking the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, are supported by 20 mountain huts. At the same time, the rivers and rainfall draining from the heights of the Pyrénées offer some of the best canoeing and white-water rafting in France.

Steve Fallon
About the Expert

Steve Fallon has more than two dozen years of experience as a travel writer and guidebook author, having written or contributed to some 80 Lonely Planet and other guides.

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Steve Fallon for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Southwestern France, on the northern edge of the Pyrenees
  • Language: French
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Winter is for skiing in the Pyrénées and springtime for Lenten carnivals. It's cooler up here in summer, but everyone knows that so expect to compete for space.