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The village which was built around the castle took advantage of its strategic position as well as the protection of the Viscounts of Béarn to widely develop over the following centuries.
Pau became the capital of Béarn in 1464, thus becoming the political, cultural and economic centre of this small State which continued to defend its independence from the neighbouring French, English and Spanish peoples.
The image of the city is since widely associated with that of this monarch made famous for his willingness to put an end to the seemingly endless Wars of Religion.
With the end of Béarnaise independence in 1620, Pau lost its influence but remained the same at the head of a largely autonomous province.
The city thus took its name from the stockade (pau in Bearnese) which set the boundaries of the primitive castle.
Limited scheduled flights serve Amsterdam, London, Southampton, Dublin, Lyon and Paris.
A TGV rail line runs to Paris and from Bayonne to Toulouse. The A65 autoroute was opened in December 2010, linking Pau with Bordeaux and the Dordogne.
The conglomeration of Bayonne-Anglet-Biarritz is at 110 km (68 mi), Bordeaux 190 km (118 mi).
Pau is served by the Pau Pyrénées Airport 10 km (6 mi) away.
Gave is the name given to a torrent in the Pyrenees.