Pau : SW France (Part I) - SkyscraperCity
 

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Old November 23rd, 2007, 08:39 PM   #1
Giri
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Pau : SW France (Part I)

Quote:
Other threads on Béarn :
Entre-Deux-Gaves ;
Vic-Bilh ;
Mourenx ;
Vic-Bilh in Wintertime : I,II ;
Le Pourtalet ;
Oloron-Sainte-Marie

Pau is my hometown : it is mainly a XIXth century town built by British curists except for some streets around the infamous castle ( Henri IV was born there ). It used to be the capital of the former viscounty of Béarn, a little state born out of the breaking-up of the duchy of Gascony.
When the weather is bad, it is a sinister town just like the whole French Pyrenees : blame slate.

I'll begin with the castle district, built on a headland that dominates the Pyrenees and which constitutes the old town.

The Low-Town from the Castle, with the Jurançon suburbs built in the 60s :
image hosted on flickr


The main street of the Castle district :
image hosted on flickr


The Castle, heavily restored in the XIXth century :
image hosted on flickr


The XIXth century St Martin church, with an out-of-context Breton bell tower :
image hosted on flickr


This building marks the beginning of the XIXth century town : let's stay in the Castle district
image hosted on flickr


The Low-Town and the Monnaie Tower in the foreground :
image hosted on flickr


The former castle moat :
image hosted on flickr


Pyrenean slate roofs down the Castle in the "Côte du Moulin" :
image hosted on flickr


The Low-Town :
image hosted on flickr


The Castle Park ( la "Basse-Plante" ) whose trees were cut down some years ago :
image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


Spain is the other side of the Pyrenees :
image hosted on flickr


Roofs in the Castle district : "rue Lassanssaà" :
image hosted on flickr


The road of Spain :
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XIXth century buildings from the Castle Park :
image hosted on flickr


This climbing streets leads to "la Haute-Plante", now "Place de Verdun", the former market place :
image hosted on flickr


The XVIIIth century Gramont Place :
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St Jacques Church lost its tower bells some years ago because of their instability :
image hosted on flickr


The Castle seen from the bridge linking the Castle district to Gramont Place :
image hosted on flickr


The Hédas ravine and St Jacques district seen from the bridge :
image hosted on flickr


The other side of the bridge :
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Coming back to the Castle district :
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This street leads to the Hédas ravine :
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The Pyrenees with the infamous Pic du Midi d'Ossau :
image hosted on flickr


The rail-station is the Low-Town watched over by the Pic du Midi de Bigorre :
image hosted on flickr


The "funiculaire" that connects the Low-Town with the Castle district :
image hosted on flickr


A building at the Royal Place :
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The Gassion hotel, facing the Pyrenees :
image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


End of the tour.
__________________
France : Brittany (Nantes) ; Normandy ; Champagne-Ardennes ; Picardy ; Paris
SW France : Béarn ; Bordeaux ; The Basque Country (new! Soule); Bigorre ; Landes

Last edited by Giri; September 11th, 2008 at 01:59 PM.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 10:01 PM   #2
Federicoft
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Magnifique!
And welcome back.
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 08:54 AM   #3
Stanpolitan
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It is a lovely town . Keep posting more about this Gascon town. Also tell me ... How alive is gascon language in this town & around it?
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 12:54 PM   #4
Giri
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The language is dead. It can't even be heard anymore in markets. The town even has a policy to ban the Gascon language from street names prefering commonplace Rue Victor Hugo to more typical names.

Globally speaking, the town suffered major changes in the 60s with the discovery of the Lacq gasfield. The population has drastically changed with newcomers (Pieds-Noirs, Northern French, Portugueses, Spaniards, Moroccans, ...). But the town never really was overwhelmingly Gascon-speaking in the first place as it had always modeled itself over Paris.

As for the surrounding countryside, it's suffering from rurbanization. The language is also virtually dead. In my housing estate some 15km North of the town, out of 7 families, only two of them are "autochtonous" (including mine) and both of them can't speak a word of Gascon. Within two decades, 1500 years of history will be over. My opinion is that it's not really the fault of the French State : the way of History dictates this sad ending for the language of my ancestors.
__________________
France : Brittany (Nantes) ; Normandy ; Champagne-Ardennes ; Picardy ; Paris
SW France : Béarn ; Bordeaux ; The Basque Country (new! Soule); Bigorre ; Landes
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 04:03 PM   #5
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Interesting to see pictures of Pau since I only know it from the Tour de France. Looks like a very charming place.
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 05:36 PM   #6
Stanpolitan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giri View Post
The language is dead. It can't even be heard anymore in markets. The town even has a policy to ban the Gascon language from street names prefering commonplace Rue Victor Hugo to more typical names.

As for the surrounding countryside, it's suffering from rurbanization. The language is also virtually dead. In my housing estate some 15km North of the town, out of 7 families, only two of them are "autochtonous" (including mine) and both of them can't speak a word of Gascon. Within two decades, 1500 years of history will be over. My opinion is that it's not really the fault of the French State : the way of History dictates this sad ending for the language of my ancestors.
Banning the Gascon language is so unacceptable & so ill-intended to an endangered language ; it's like a dagger stabbed into its back , while it was already bed-ridden . Since major settlements create the inspiration about a language & culture , then the villages & smaller places do follow their lead. Pau can be small & does not have to have major Gascon population , still should have been aware of that it is in ancient Gascon hinterland.

If it feels that down-ridden to speak this beautiful ancient latin Bask language ( I call Gascon like that ) , for the expense of some northern alien province's tongue ... then they can be glad , their town has no distinction , no profile , just another protypical french town in southern France , like any other . Mission accomplished. Fait accompli...

Last edited by Stanpolitan; December 3rd, 2007 at 03:33 AM.
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