768km (476 miles) SW of Paris; 196km (122 miles) SW of Toulouse
High above the banks of the Gave de Pau River, Pau is the capital of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département (ministate). It was once the land of the kings of Navarre, the most famous and beloved of whom was Henri IV, who was born in Pau. The British discovered Pau in the early 19th century, launching such practices as fox hunting, a custom that lingers on in the form of the Pau Hunt. Even if you’re just passing through, follow boulevard des Pyrénées, an esplanade erected on Napoleon’s orders, for a famous panoramic view.