Le Château de Pau - Vue Générale

History Constructs himself

Pulling probably left of a favorable natural site to the fortification, viscounts of Béarn, since the XIè century, established, in the time of their privileged alliance with the Aragon, a strong castle of a rough simplicity,: square tower - the present Mazères tower - of weak height, stretched out building body to the South, palisade enclosing the narrow promontory blocked to the East. It is the more autonomous development, and turned further toward the Gascon theater and free-English competition aquitain, that incite to amplify and to modernize the feudal whole, with the Montauzer tower (XIIIè century), high dungeon of stones launched toward the North, the Billère tower and especially the retaking, thoroughly, of the fortress by Gaston Fébus (1343 - 1391). Here the whole of surrounding walls, towers and lodgings developed in an objective of defense bastion are the Bearn, affirms himself like a link essential of the military construction but as economic and politics to which applies the count-sun of a tip to the other of the Pyrenees.

All other is the point of view of viscounts of the Béarn, become kings of Navarre, who use himself to give to the medieval lodgings of court paces conform to their new ambitions. Of the North wing (XVè century) to the facade to registers of the West wing, side court (1st half of the XVIè century) and the staircase of year 1530 honor, conceived on models ligérienses, with his double flight right and its arch in vessel "surbaissé", that, is the sophistication of the architecture to the French that is searched for, erasing the military rigor of the past, thanks to roofings comings, to the need, to unravel the profile of towers (….).

Le Donjon

(........) These ancient elements of the architecture of the castle of Pau constitute the essential armature of it, the real identity so much structural that plastic. Yet, the radical restorations and will to give back a seeing homage on places of a real cult given back to Henri IV and the memory of his birth, seem to have saturated the monument of elements inauthentics and him to have clothed a composite interpretative and formal envelope: destruction of the wing is that closed the court of honor; retaking of facades of the wing South and the whole of sky lights; construction of a set of apartments to the East of the North wing, on the Gothic lodgings model, creation of a porch " néo-Renaissance "... All these transformations essentially appeared Napoléon III. Alone, the new disposition of the West tip of the building, henceforth organized of an artificial symmetry, thanks to a tower toupee built on the model of the Mazères tower, go up again to Louis-Philippe and his project of monumental entrance by the park…..

Written by Paul MIRONNEAU

See More : Le Château Médiéval de ses orginines à Gaston IV (in French)