Château de Pau

The Pyrenees

Originally the residence of the monarchs of Navarre, Pau’s castle was transformed into a Renaissance château amid lavish gardens by Marguerite d’Angoulême in the 16th century. Marguerite’s grandson, Henri de Navarre (the future Henri IV), was born here – cradled, so the story goes, in an upturned tortoise shell (still on display in one of the museum’s rooms).

Much restored, the château is now mainly worth visiting for its collections of Gobelins tapestries and Sèvres porcelain, as well as its fine Renaissance architecture.

Admission includes an obligatory one-hour guided tour in French (departing every 15 minutes; the last one commences at 5.45pm), but you can pick up an English-language guide sheet at reception.