About Pau Castle
The 12th century Château de Pau is a castle in the centre of the city of Pau, the capital of Pyrénées-Atlantiques.
Pau Castle was founded in the Middle Ages. In the 12th century Gaston IV of Béarn built three towers at the fortress called Mazères, Billère and Montauser.
Henry IV of France and Navarre was born here in 1553 and it was once used by Napoleon as a holiday home during his period of power.
The château has been classified as a monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. Nowadays it contains a collection of tapestries.
During the Renaissance the court of Navarre in 1512 significantly altered the appearance of the castle. Originally a fortress, it became a residence. Henri d’Albret lived there with his wife Marguerite d’Angoulême, sister of François I, They marked the castle with their initials, still present on the walls and ceilings, and great care was taken to maintain and reproduce them even over the subsequent restorations.
The castle became a presidential residence during the Republic. It is currently a National Museum which houses the works preserved from the days of Henry IV. It currently hosts over 100,000 visitors annually, making it the most visited heritage site in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques.