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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Pau

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Pau, Tarbes and Lourdes each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

April to October: Torchlight Procession (local event)

Every evening between April and October, the very popular Torchlight Procession takes place at 9:00 p.m. It begins near the Grotto and ends on the square of the Notre-Dame du Rosaire Basilica. A statue of the Virgin is always carried by the group of pilgrims at the head of the procession.

May 1: Labour Day (national holiday)

On the first of May, it is customary to offer a sprig of lily-of-the-valley to close ones. Many vendors occupy the pavement on that occasion!

June 21: Fête de la Musique (celebrated nationwide)

Also celebrated internationally as World Music Day, for this festival many free concerts featuring all types of music are held in the streets and at various venues in all three cities late into the night.

July 14: Bastille Day (national holiday)

This holiday celebrates both the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, the key event marking the beginning of the French Revolution, and the end of the privileges enjoyed by the clergy and the aristocracy. The festivities include parades, concerts and fireworks displays.

August 15: Assumption Day (national holiday)

This celebration is marked by the faithful with religious processions and ceremonies: mass offered in various languages (Chinese, French, Italian, etc.), a special torchlight Marian procession within the Grotto at Lourdes, etc.

Third weekend in September: European Heritage Days (celebrated nationwide)

The aim of the European Heritage Days is to open up numerous sites and monuments, many of which are normally closed to the public. A great opportunity for a lovely stroll through the city to admire architectural treasures!

December 8: Feast of the Immaculate Conception in Lourdes (local event)

This feast day, cherished by all pilgrims, celebrates the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It gives rise to moments of deep recollection and prayer at all of the city's holy places.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Pau

Pau, Tarbes and Lourdes are all located not far from the Pyrénées and have warm oceanic climates. Summers are mild and winters can be cold at times. But the föhn, a warm, dry down-slope wind, often sweeps through the region, causing the mercury to rise. However, Tarbes enjoys a microclimate, with cooler temperatures and less rain. All this being said, summers are fairly warm, while spring, autumn and winter are usually mild and sunny.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 2/36 11/52 94/3.7 Not the best period to go
February 2/36 12/54 83/3.3 Not the best period to go
March 5/41 15/59 85/3.3 Not the best period to go
April 7/45 17/63 112/4.4 Not the best period to go
May 11/52 21/70 99/3.9 Good period to go Good period to go
June 14/57 24/75 77/3.0 Good period to go Good period to go
July 16/61 26/79 57/2.2 Good period to go Good period to go
August 16/61 26/79 68/2.7 Good period to go Good period to go
September 13/55 24/75 79/3.1 Not the best period to go
October 10/50 20/68 100/3.9 Not the best period to go
November 5/41 14/57 116/4.6 Not the best period to go
December 3/37 11/52 98/3.9 Not the best period to go
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Pau, Tarbes and Lourdes International Airports

Pau Pyrénées International Airport

Pau Pyrénées International Airport is located about 7 kilometres (4 miles) north-west of the city centre.
  • One terminal

Getting from the airport to Pau and back:
  • By car
    • Accessible via the D716 and the D834. From Tarbes and Lourdes, the airport can be reached via the A64 (exit 10).
    • There are two parking facilities at the airport (P1 and P2), suitable for both short- and long-term parking ( EUR 2.50 for up to1 hour and 30 minutes, and EUR 13.00 for 1 day).
    • Several car rental companies have counters in the arrivals hall.
  • By bus
    •  The Proxilis 20 bus connects the airport with central Pau every hour from 7:40 a.m. to 7:10 p.m. The trip takes about 30 minutes and the fare is EUR 1.50 each way (paid directly to the driver).
  • By taxi
    • Taxis are available at the ranks just outside the airport. The trip to the city centre takes about 15 minutes and costs around EUR 30 (daytime fare). The daytime taxi fare to Tarbes or Lourdes is about EUR 90 (EUR 125 at night or on Sunday).
  • Services: shops, bars and restaurants, valet parking and free Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone: +33 (0)5 59 33 33 00
  • Website: http://www.pau.aeroport.fr

Tarbes-Lourdes Pyrénées International Airport


Tarbes-Lourdes Pyrénées Airport is located about 10 kilometres (6 miles) south-west of both cities.
  • One terminal

Getting from the airport to Tarbes or Lourdes and back:
  • By car
    • The airport is accessible from Tarbes via the A64 and from Lourdes via the N21.
    • Free parking lot with a capacity of 750 spaces, intended for both short- and long-term parking.
    • Several car rental companies have counters in the arrivals hall.
  • By bus
    •  Bus 2 (Maligne des Gaves) connects the airport with both Tarbes and Lourdes about every hour and the fare is EUR 2 each way (EUR 1 for children under 12).
  • By taxi
    • Taxis are available at the ranks outside the terminal. The trip to Tarbes or Lourdes takes about 15 minutes and costs around EUR 35.
  • Services: shops, bars and restaurants, valet parking and free Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone: +33 (0)5 62 32 92 22
  • Website: http://www.tlp.aeroport.fr

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GETTING AROUND Pau

Pau has a well-functioning public transport system. Apart from an efficient network of bus routes covering the entire metropolitan area, Pau also runs a free shuttle bus service connecting points within the city centre as well as a public bike-sharing system.

Tarbes is a medium-sized city with convenient and efficient public transport options. Bicycling is an excellent way to discover the city's history and architecture, thanks to the many cycling paths.

Lourdes is easy to visit on foot, but it also has a public transport system serving the entire city and its surrounding area.

Pau by bus

Buses operated by IDELIS serve the entire city and its surrounding area. A single ticket costs EUR 1.00. A 10-ride card is available for EUR 10.00.

Pau by bicycle

IDEcycle is Pau's public bike-sharing system, with some 200 bicycles available at the 20 stations distributed throughout the city. Rental fees are EUR 1 for 1 day and EUR 5 for 1 week.

For further information, visit the IDEcycle office on Place d'Espagne, which is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Pau by taxi

Distances between points of interest in Pau are relatively short. Nevertheless, taxis can be a convenient option for getting around at night. A short trip in the city centre costs around EUR 10.

Tarbes by bus

Tarbes has a sizable network of municipal bus routes serving the entire metropolitan area, which operate every day except Sunday. A single ticket costs EUR 1.00 and a 10-ride card is available for EUR 8.70.

Tarbes by shuttle bus

A free shuttle bus operates on a route within the centre of Tarbes every day except Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 7:20 p.m. A free market shuttle operates on Thursday mornings.

Tarbes by bicycle

Bicycles are a convenient and cost-effective way to get around Tarbes. The city offers some 15 kilometres (9 miles) of cycling paths as well as a public bike-sharing system. The first day of use is free of charge. For several consecutive days, the fee is EUR 1 per day and EUR 5 for 1 week.

  • Bicycle rental station: 31 rue Georges Lassalle, 65000 Tarbes

Lourdes by bus

Six bus routes criss-cross the city's various districts 7 days a week. A single ticket costs EUR 1.20 and a book of 10 tickets is available for EUR 10.00.

Lourdes by taxi

Taxis are an option to bear in mind when you need to get around late at night. A ride in the city centre costs between EUR 10 and EUR 15.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Pau, Tarbes or Lourdes, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Office de Tourisme Pau Pyrénées

Offers practical information and useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

Office de Tourisme de Tarbes

Offers practical information and useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

Office de Tourisme de Lourdes

Offers practical information and useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

Further information available online for visitors to France

The official website maintained by Atout France, the French tourism development agency, provides a wealth of information on Pau, Tarbes and Lourdes.

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency used in France is the Euro (EUR).

1 CHF = 0,86 EUR

1 EUR = 1,16 CHF

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

Pau, Tarbes and Lourdes count several hospitals and medical institutions, as well as quality medical practitioners and health specialists.

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to France. For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Food safety

There are no specific food safety risks. French government authorities promote good hygiene practices and put in place strengthened control procedures for sites especially frequented by tourists during the summer months.

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Pau, Tarbes and Lourdes.

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Administrative formalities

As a general rule, a visa is required to enter France. Foreign nationals in the two categories listed below are not required to carry a visa for stays of 90 days or less:

  • Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or the Swiss Confederation
  • Citizens or nationals of the following countries: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Holy See (Vatican City), Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela

For stays of more than 90 days, a long-stay visa is required.

Travellers from all other countries must be in possession of a visa, regardless of the length of their stay. Visa applications must be submitted to the nearest French Embassy or French Consulate in the country of permanent residence well in advance of departure.

For further information, visit the website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/getting-a-visa/

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic French phrases that will make your stay in Pau, Tarbes or Lourdes a little easier:

Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon: Bonjour

Good evening: Bonsoir

Good-bye: Au revoir

Yes: Oui

No: Non

No, thank you: Non, merci

Thank you very much: Merci beaucoup

I don't understand: Je ne comprends pas.

Could you repeat that?: Pouvez-vous répéter ?

Please: S'il vous plaît.

What time is it?: Quelle heure est-il ?

Excuse me: Excusez-moi.

Airport: Aéroport

Train station: Gare

Taxi: Taxi

Hotel: Hôtel

Hospital: Hôpital

Bank: Banque

Telephone: Téléphone

I'm (…): Je suis (…).

I'm looking for (…): Je recherche (…).

How much is (…)?: Quel est le prix de (…) ?

Do you have (…)?: Avez-vous (…) ?

Where can I find (…)?: Où puis-je trouver (…) ?

Where can I buy (…)?: Où puis-je acheter (…) ?

I'd like (…): Je voudrais (…).

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Good to know

00 33
+ phone number without the 0
0 : 00
of time difference with
Geneva
Start of daylight saving time: last Sunday in March
End of daylight saving time: last Sunday in October

BANKS

Usually open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (some branches stay open until 6 p.m.)
GOVERNMENT OFFICES

Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

Tipping
In Pau, Tarbes and Lourdes like elsewhere in France, a service charge is always included in the bill. If you are particularly pleased with the service, you may certainly leave a few extra euros on the table. But this additional tip is neither expected nor necessary.