The castle of Pau

June 15, 2022
Le Château de Pau Hotel Bristol Pau

A monument, a story

The Bristol Pau hotel takes you to discover the historic building of the city of Pau, its castle located in the centre of the old town.

Standing in the heart of the city, facing the Pyrenees, on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Gave, the castle of Pau is the emblematic monument of this city and their evolution is closely linked.

A feudal castle, which over the centuries became a royal, imperial, national palace and then a museum, the Château de Pau offers its visitors a real immersion in local and national history. The architecture of the monument bears witness to a history of over a thousand years.

From the Middle Ages to the 19th century, the centuries have left their mark on its walls and decorations. Many historical figures have left their mark on this place, and above all that of Henri IV, the first king of France and Navarre, who was born here on 13 December 1553.

In the second half of the 14th century, the castle of Pau was radically transformed by Gaston III, Count of Foix and Viscount of Bearn (1343-1391).

This extraordinary character has been passed on to posterity under the name of "Gaston Fébus", a nickname he chose for himself, in reference to his blond hair.

In October 1620, the castle was the scene of a major event in the history of Bearn: the arrival in Pau of King Louis XIII, who had an edict recorded concerning the reunion of Bearn and Navarre with the kingdom of France... and ordered that part of the ceremonial furniture and the collection of paintings still in place be taken to Paris. Since the departure of Henri IV, the castle has been entrusted to the care of governors.

From 1623 to the Revolution, members of the eminent de Gramont family, originally from Bidache, held this office one after another

It was Napoleon III's task to continue the renovation of the Château de Pau. If the interior decoration, already almost complete under the July monarchy, underwent only minimal modifications, the same could not be said of the building: the facades were rebuilt, the Renaissance sculptures of the dormers, doors and windows restored or recreated.

Visit to the castle

Just a ten-minute walk through the pedestrian streets, the Hotel Bristol Pau offers you the opportunity to visit this historic building, now considered a museum.

Access to the parks and gardens is free all year round.

Numerous free admission measures and special rates are in place at the castle as in all other national museums.

You have access to special rates offering you a discount on the price for under 18s, students, 18-25s...

You will be asked for valid proof of identity at the ticket office

Access to the temporary exhibitions organised by the museum is very often free of charge.

Access to the temporary exhibitions is free of charge.

A "Pass Pau" is offered and distributed by the Pau-Pyrenees Tourist and Convention Bureau. The Pass Pau allows you to combine several offers: a visit to Pau Castle, a visit to the Fine Arts Museum and the Bernadotte Museum.