By Saturday, it was high time for a weekend getaway. My overnight trip to Pau was the breath of fresh air I’d been craving—literally and figuratively.
The crisp air filled my lungs. And then the view took my breath away.
Standing on the edge of Pau’s terraced Boulevard des Pyrénées, gazing at the blues and grays of the snow-capped mountains, I felt like I was at the end of the world. I felt like I could fly.
Now I understand how people can be mad about mountains.
While the Pyrénées might well pull me back to Pau, they weren’t what initially brought me there.
Tomorrow is Mardi Gras and this last weekend was the height of Carnaval—the traditional season of parades, masquerades, balls and general debauchery preceding Lent.
As this was to be my frist Carnaval, I wanted to do it right. So on the recommendation of several real live French people, my friends and I chose Pau as our hub for the fête.
We made it to town just in time for the défilé, and even through the drizzle, everything was vibrant.
The parade was truly communal. Clubs and organizations, marching bands, families, groups of friends and plainly dressed spectators danced along narrow streets as it rained down silly string and confetti (I’m still finding pieces in my pockets).
After a night featuring mojitos and my infamous nose glasses, we capped off our séjour with a guided tour of the Château de Pau—the birthplace of Henri IV—during which time I was able to fill my history nerd quota.
The château is one of my favorites that I’ve ever visited. It’s beautifully furnished and the tour (the only way you’re grated access) was informative, entertaining and thorough—just the way I like it.
Click here for more photos from Pau.