Pau: A Capital of Talent, Heritage, and Nature – Experience the Exceptional Living Environment and Thriving Sports Culture


Robert Eduard Antal » Eurocities Nominees 2024 » Advancing Smart City Initiatives in Eurocities Member Cities

Contributions and Roles of Member Cities in the Eurocities Network: Pau, France

Urban Planning and Development

Pau undertakes significant urban development projects aimed at enhancing livability, sustainability, and resilience to climate change. The city’s urban planning initiatives focus on creating green spaces, sustainable housing, and efficient public transportation.

Examples of Urban Development Projects

  • Redevelopment of the historic quarter with a focus on pedestrianization and public spaces.
  • Expansion of the city’s tram network to improve public transit connectivity.
  • Initiatives to increase urban green spaces and create community gardens.

Innovation and Sustainability

Alexandre, 28, and Lore, 30, have been managing the Cultive! farm in Rontignon, near Pau, France, since early 2022. They use hand tools exclusively, grow all their own plants, and are certified organic, employing methods that enhance soil vitality. They sell their produce directly at markets, on the farm, in baskets, and to restaurants.

“Our aim is to offer quality agriculture on an ultra-local scale,” says Lore, to

Official City Website:

Both Alexandre and Lore made significant career changes to start their farm; Alexandre holds an engineering degree, and Lore previously worked in cultural mediation. Their venture was made possible by a city-backed initiative in Pau that supports independent farmers in establishing and succeeding in their businesses.

By shortening food supply chains and increasing local food production, Alexandre, Lore, and other independent farmers are supporting local economies, reducing carbon footprints, and strengthening food resilience. This goal aligns with the City of Pau’s objectives. However, a 2019 survey indicated that up to 70 percent of local farmers were expected to retire or close their farms within the next decade, posing a significant challenge.

Youth and Education

Pau is dedicated to creating vibrant environments for students and young professionals. The city supports educational institutions, offers scholarships, and fosters a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among the youth.

Examples of Youth and Education Initiatives

  • Partnership programs between universities and local businesses to provide internships and employment opportunities.
  • Offering scholarships and grants for students pursuing green technologies and sustainable development studies.
  • Organizing hackathons and innovation challenges to engage young minds in solving urban issues.
  • Establishing youth councils to involve young citizens in city governance and planning.

Participation in Eurocities

Participating in the Eurocities network provides numerous benefits for Pau. It facilitates the exchange of best practices and innovative solutions with other cities, enhances access to EU funding opportunities, and strengthens Pau’s voice in European policymaking. The collaboration within the network helps Pau to accelerate its sustainable development goals and improve the quality of life for its residents.

Pau, France


Pau is located in the southwestern part of France in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It lies in close proximity to the Pyrenees mountain range, offering scenic views and a mild climate. The city is situated near the Gave de Pau river, adding to its picturesque charm.


As of the latest census, Pau has a population of approximately 77,000 residents. The demographic makeup is diverse, with a mix of native French, Spanish, and other European nationalities. The city also attracts international students and expatriates, contributing to its multicultural atmosphere.

Historical Significance

  1. Middle Ages and Prominence: Pau indeed has a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages. The city developed around a castle built in the 11th century by the Viscounts of Béarn. It became the capital of Béarn in 1464 and it did become the seat of the Kings of Navarre in 1512​ (Encyclopedia Britannica)​​ (Wikipedia)​.
  2. Château de Pau and Henry IV: The Château de Pau is a significant historical site where King Henry IV of France was born on December 13, 1553. This castle has become a symbol of the city and is now a museum​.
  3. English Influence in the 19th Century: In the 19th century, Pau became a popular destination for English tourists, particularly British and Irish aristocrats seeking a milder climate. This influx significantly influenced the architectural and cultural development of the city, leading to the construction of many elegant villas and the establishment of clubs and societies catering to the English community​ (EnVols)​.

Cultural Attractions

  • Château de Pau: A historic castle that serves as a museum dedicated to King Henry IV.
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts: This museum features a vast collection of fine art, including works from the Renaissance to modern periods.
  • Boulevard des Pyrénées: A scenic promenade offering stunning views of the Pyrenees mountains.
  • Grand Prix de Pau: An annual motorsport event that attracts car racing enthusiasts from around the world.

Education System

Pau boasts a robust education system encompassing primary, secondary, and higher education institutions. Notable institutions include:

  • Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour (UPPA): A major public university offering a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs.
  • Lycée Louis Barthou: A prestigious secondary school known for its rigorous academic curriculum.

Transportation Infrastructure

Pau has a well-developed transportation network that includes:

  • Public Transit: The IDELIS bus network provides comprehensive coverage within the city and surrounding areas.
  • Airports: Pau Pyrénées Airport connects the city to several domestic and international destinations.
  • Rail Connections: The city’s railway station offers direct links to major cities such as Paris, Bordeaux, and Toulouse.

Urban Development Projects

Pau has several ongoing urban development projects aimed at enhancing sustainability and quality of life. Key projects include the construction of eco-friendly residential areas, expansion of green spaces, and the development of smart city technology for better public services and infrastructure management.

Environmental Initiatives

The city of Pau is actively engaged in environmental sustainability initiatives. These efforts include promoting renewable energy sources, implementing waste reduction programs, and encouraging the use of public transportation to reduce carbon emissions. The city also focuses on protecting its natural landscapes and biodiversity.

Quality of Living

Pau offers a high quality of living characterized by excellent healthcare facilities, a low crime rate, and a variety of recreational amenities. The city’s healthcare system is well-regarded, with several hospitals and clinics providing top-notch medical services. Residents enjoy a safe and vibrant community with access to parks, cultural events, and sports facilities.

Quality of Life Indexes

Pau consistently ranks high in various quality of life indexes. It is often recognized for its livability, healthcare standards, and environmental quality. The city’s efforts in maintaining a clean and safe environment contribute to its favorable reputation among residents and visitors alike.

Profile of Mayor François Bayrou

Current Position

Mayor of Pau, France

François René Jean Lucien Bayrou is a French politician who has led the Democratic Movement since its founding in 2007. A centrist, Bayrou ran for president in the 2002, 2007, and 2012 elections. Additionally, he has been the president of the European Democratic Party since 2004.

Pau, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France: Quality of Life and Cost of Living

Quality of Life


Pau boasts a safety index of 75.22, reflecting the city’s high level of security. Residents and visitors alike can feel safe while exploring various neighborhoods, thanks to effective local law enforcement and community-based safety initiatives.


The healthcare quality index in Pau stands at an impressive 88.62. The city offers excellent healthcare services, including several well-regarded hospitals and healthcare facilities that provide comprehensive medical care. Residents benefit from professional healthcare providers and efficient emergency services.


Pau maintains a pollution index of 26.57, indicating notably clean air and tidy streets. The city’s commitment to maintaining cleanliness and environmental regulations contributes to a high quality of life for its residents.


With a transport index of 27.03, Pau offers a well-developed public transportation system. Efficient bus and train services ensure convenient travel throughout the city and its surroundings. The public transport network is particularly praised for its punctuality and coverage.


Pau is home to the University of Pau and Pays de l’Adour, known for its exemplary academic quality. The university offers a range of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, attracting students from across France and beyond. The city also hosts several reputable primary and secondary schools, contributing to its strong educational environment.

Cost of Living


Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Pau’s city center averages around €600 per month. This cost is considered moderate, providing affordable living options for both single professionals and small families.

Groceries and Dining

  • Monthly grocery costs for a single person are typically about €300. This includes a balanced mix of fresh produce, meats, dairy, and other essential items.
  • Dining out at a mid-range restaurant costs an average of €50 for two. The city offers a variety of dining options, from local French cuisine to international dishes.


Monthly utility costs for an 85m2 apartment in Pau usually fall around €150. This includes electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage disposal.


A monthly public transportation pass is quite affordable at €30. This pass allows unlimited travel on the city’s buses and trains, making it a cost-effective option for daily commutes and leisure travel.


  • Fitness club memberships average €35 per month, offering access to a variety of exercise equipment, fitness classes, and wellness programs.
  • A cinema ticket costs around €10, making movie-going an accessible entertainment option for residents.

Source: Data provided by Numbeo

Role within the Eurocities Network

Pau plays a significant role in the Eurocities network by consistently promoting high urban living standards. The city actively participates in knowledge-sharing activities, focusing on sustainable urban development, innovative mobility solutions, and enhancing the quality of life for its residents. Pau’s contribution to the network underscores its commitment to being an exemplary European city, combining rich cultural heritage with modern living amenities.

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