Pau A Balcony Over the Pyrenees
The English discovered Pau in the mid-19th century, fell in love with its mild climate and turned it into one of their favourite summer resorts. This is borne out by the well preserved oldest golf course in Europe outside the United Kingdom. The capital of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques Département, well known as a city of art and history, offers visitors generous helpings of history, cuisine and fine wine, in addition to an adrenalin rush in the watersports available to all-comers at the Pau-Pyrénées Whitewater Stadium.
Pau – A City with History
The historic centre of Pau is distributed around its castle, the birthplace of Henry IV of France (and III of Navarre), known as "Good King Henry", France’s first king of the Bourbon dynasty. The hallmark of this castle is its architectural diversity and, like all national museums in France, admission is free every first Sunday of the month. Opposite the castle stands the Parliament of Navarre, set up in the mid-17th century after the edict of unification between France and the historical region of Bearn. It is now the seat of the General Council of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques.
The old town features a number of interesting sights, including such emblematic buildings as the Church of Saint-Martin and the Maison Sully, a 17th-century mansion. Touching its doorknocker is said to bring good luck, so you are advised to go through this ritual before leaving the city, just in case.
The Boulevard des Pyrénées – A Balcony Overlooking Nature
One of the landmark spots in Pau is the Boulevard des Pyrénées, designed as a replica of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. It connects the castle to the Beaumont Palace and affords beautiful views of the mountain range separating France and Spain. A pastime very much in vogue among locals and, by extension, among many visitors too, is to sit at one of the terrace cafés and soak up the fabulous mountain views.
Several museums are open to sightseers in Pau, notably the Bernadotte House, the birthplace of Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, a French general who ascended to the throne of Sweden, and the Fine Arts Museum, which houses a collection of paintings by Victor Galos, as well as works by local artists and even Degas and Rubens.
Cuisine and Sports in Pau
Pyrenean cuisine, with its standout local sausage and tasty cheeses, is another of the major attractions in the capital of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. One highly popular dish is poule au pot (casseroled chicken), an icon of traditional Bearnese cuisine. Prominent among local wines is Jurançon, which comes in two flavours – dry and sweet. Lastly, to burn up the calories ingested, watersports come highly recommended, notably rafting and hydrospeed. And, they can both be done at the nearby white-water stadium which in 2017 will be hosting the Canoe World Championships.
Be sure to visit this beautiful city – book your flight here.
Text and images by Tus Destinos
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De cervezas artesanas por Barcelona
La Cervesera Artesana
The name (meaning “Craft Beer House”) may seem rather obvious, but they wear it proudly as this beer house was one of the first brewpubs in town to sport the “craft” label. Through glass panes you can see how they make seven types of Iberian beer, the brand adopted by the first microbrewery in Barcelona, dating from 1993. Their drinks are served on the premises and range from a stout to an acclaimed spicy beer. They went to Facebook to ask their customers which new variety they should bring out and the winning suggestion was a chilli beer. They’re working on it. They offer many others, too. The brewery, in the lower part of Gràcia, always has an upbeat atmosphere.
Guillem Laporta is one of the beer activists with the most pedigree in Barcelona and his beer house, Homo Sibaris, is proof of the knowledge he has acquired. It is also one of the city’s most inviting beer cellars. Located in the picturesque Plaza Osca in the Sants district, its battery of handpumps has recently been augmented to fourteen. The brews that emerge from their spouts are made by Guillem himself (he has just crafted a bitter which is going to be the talk of the town!), in addition to other hard-to-find craft beers from around the world. Take a seat at one of their tables, or on the terrace, browse through the menu you will be handed, ask the staff and let them guide you. They always get it right.
When Manuel Baltasar was deciding what type of beer house to open with his friends, he realised that good company was an essential element. Good company in the project – his partners include a beer distributor, a craft brewery in Navarre (Naparbier) and a master brewer from Belgium, Sven Bosch. And good company at the tables in his brewpub, located in the middle of the Eixample district. The tapas menu at BierCab is designed to pair well with their beers.Chef Ronald García prepares the dishes, notably ceviche de corvina (sea bass lemon-and-garlic marinade) with tiger’s milk, and sea bass sashimi with yellow ají sauce. Even non-beer drinkers ought to taste them, although stepping into BierCab without trying a single beer would be riotous. They have over 600 varieties, many of them Catalan, bearing in mind that these climes are now gripped with beer fever. “The best thing here is that everyone can find their own beer style”, Manuel promises.
Blacklab & Kitchen
Jing Cheng and Matt Bader met while studying architecture in Chicago and, after graduating, settled in Barcelona. A few years later, they turned their passion into a profession, setting up a brewhouse in the Palau de Mar, in the Barceloneta. Everything there is reminiscent of what they loved about the USA – the natural beers that Matt makes, the kitchen – they serve up hamburgers, sandwiches and soups, but tend to recommend the chicken wings and pulled pork buns – and even the gigs held on Saturday evening. Customers eat and drink among tanks where the house beers are fermented. They come in a thousand different styles and always feature some new creation.
Craft brewers inevitably treat their profession as a vocation, and they emerge relatively late in life at that. The triumvirate at Abirradero, in Poble-sec, bear this out, as it is made up of Nereo Garbi, a former publisher, Daniel Fermún, an IT technician, and Ivò Castells, a telecoms graduate. Half of the beers they list are their own creation, some in rather bizarre styles. With the assistance of journalist Sergi Bayó, they have even adapted the periodic table of elements to beer, to help newcomers discover the infinite diversity of this world. Accompanied by tapas designed to pair well with the beverage, a dinner at Abirradero will reveal the endless culinary possibilities of beer.
Book your Vueling to Barcelona and gear up to savour the finest craft beers in town.
Text by Josep Sucarrats of Gastronomistasmore info