Life in Pau, Pyrerenees

Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone has moved to Pau in France and what their thoughts on life there are?

My partner and myself are considering moving to France and were wondering about Pau as a potential option. We currently live in the UK and would like to move to France, in a mid-sized city where life is more affordable and Pau seems appealing. We are planning to visit in the summer to get an idea.

So far reading from other forum threads about Pau I seem to see a bit of everything: it's boring, too quiet etc that kind of thing and other testimonials mention the opposite... I suppose part of the experience is also down to how you integrate in local community?

Looking forward to hearing from others

Hi
We recently relocated to Pau from Cape Town South Africa. My husband is from PAU and I am Zimbabwean.
I also have found that people have so many mixed feelings about PAU. The older generation seem to love settling here and then there is us who seem to want a bit of pace. We are a couple in our 30s and 40s.

I personally find Pau to be too slow, but again I love my peace and quiet especially after a long day.
I think for children this is a lovely place to raise them, my 9yo did say she prefers Pau to Cape Town. We also have visited Toulouse and Bordeaux and my children again mentioned they prefer Pau. So I guess I lost the bet on this one.

Anyway besides the speed, which I find myself craving for😊, people here are friendly (obviously not 100%). I find the men know what "honour ladies" actually means, people greet each other, give way to each other and are more respectful.

Also there is so much outdoors activities around and I love that too about a city. I am not much of a planner so waking up and deciding we are going to the mountains or we are going to Spain now, has been a dream come true for me.

So out of 10 I would give Pau 8, obviously I still reserve the 2 for my big city life craving lol.

But all in all I love this city however I realised there are not many options for English speaking jobs, so if you are like me and need to get a job I suggest learning your French ASAP.

All the best with the move.

As to life in Pau, I have visited there both of the last two years. Spent two months there last summer, and I've met so many wonderful and interesting people. There is an active group of English speakers, the oldest golf club on the Continent, beautiful views of the Pyrenees, good weather, etc. I'll be there from May 16 to the end of June this summer and will be actively looking for a place to call home as I live in Texas at present. Strongly recommend this place.  Dennis McCuistion

@Dennis, If you need assistance from an estate agent to find a place to buy you can contact my husband who is very fluent in English. you can find his FB page named Leggett Immobilier Pau Bearn, there you will find all his contact details.

Hi Everyone,  my husband and I currently live in Grenoble France, the French Alps.  And are considering the Pau area for relocation.  @Dennis we raised our daughters in Dallas, Texas.  And my husband is a golfer. We considering Pau because we want a smaller, quieter city.  Grenoble's crime rates trouble me.  We hope to make a trip to see the area for six weeks in August.  @Mrs. French what towns outside of Pau would you say are  “higher end”.  I want a nice scenic view, we are spoiled in Grenoble, our mountains are spectacular.

Hi Janette
I really like Jurançon, Serres Morlaas. I also like Nay although I wasnt there long enough to see the whole place.
My husband is an estate agent should you need further advise and his a Poloise, I will inbox you his email on request.

Thank you for your kind reply.  It's too early to work with a realtor.  Just trying to get a feel for the area. I did find your husband's Facebook page.

Hi Mrs French,
Ah, I thought I would be there in May...alas, this darn virus has interrupted my plans. Having said that, yes, please send me your husband's information. Hope to see you in the near future.  Dennis

Hi Janette,

MrsFrench had good suggestions. You won't get views like Grenoble, but try to find a panoramic view of the Pyrenees probably from a village north of Pau. The view is my number one consideration in a place to live there. I have spent my life in and around Dallas and am living in Plano for now. I sold my place on Lake Texoma in November. Hope to meet you and yours in August...

Dennis

Only a pleasure Janette. Alll the best

I've never lived in Pau but I did live in Biarritz for many years, which isn't all that far away. I am not suggesting living in Biarritz because it is an expensive place and that includes all the towns and villages in the region all the way down to Spain including Bayonne which I love.

However, I do have friends that are from Pau so visited there quite often and the really great thing about it are the views and the access to the ski slopes in the Pyrenees as well as those in Andorra, that is, if you enjoy skiing. We always considered the ski slopes of the Pyrenees as being shorter but more technical than those in the Alps.

It's also an easy drive to many beautiful places in the region, and you can also easily visit Les Landes and the Pays Basque and places across the border such as San Sebastian in Spain for Tapas or for sightseeing as it is just a two hour drive away from Pau.

So I give a definite thumbs up to living in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques, although I myself would prefer somewhere a little further west. Pau, while not perhaps the most exciting place around is certainly well located for exploring the southwest of France.

Hi to all of you above from 2020. Reading your posts was enjoyable and enlightening. 

My wife and I, mid-60s, are expatriating next year (2023) to France. After several trips we have narrowed down to Narbonne, Lisle sur la Sorgue, Pau, and the Dordogne area of Bergerac and south of Bergerac. So hard to decide!

If any of you can offer a “comparative” opinion of any of the above mentioned places, I'd sure be interested in that!

Can't wait to escape Arizona and get started on the best time of our lives…..

Cheers 
BC
First thing to do is get your long-stay visa (titre de sejour), otherwise you'll have to return to the US every 90 days. You apply at the French consulate nearest you in Arizona. Then three moths after you've been living in France, you'll probably want to apply for a carte medicale that entitles you to free or almost-free health care and medications.

Now you'll need to think about how you're going to pass the French driving test. Arizona isn't one of the 13 states that have reciprocal driving privileges with France, and unless you're bilingual and French is one of your languages, you will have a tough time passing the written and driving tests. I guarantee it, having gone through the ordeal myself and I'm a fluent speaker. I eventually passed, and, like all people who pass the tests, I now need to display a sticker on the back of our car showing a big red letter "A" (apprenti, or beginner) for three years and which limits my driving speed down to 110 km/hr from 130. My advice to you, and something I would have done had I known better: temporarily move to one of the states that have reciprocal driving privileges with France, get your driver's licenses there and only then make your move to France.

My French girlfriend and I have been living in a lovely medieval village, Lisle-sur-Tarn, since November 2021 and we love it here. We've made friends with a couple of neighbors (I talk about this and many other things in my Facebook blog, Living in France) but I've found the best way to meet people, especially if you live in a small village like ours, is by joining activities held at the local centre culturel.

Sorry I don't have specific information about the towns you mentioned, but if you have any logistical questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

Regards,

Bob
@Robert Uomini  

Thanks very much, Bob!

Yes, we have thoroughly researched all aspects of moving to France, and are aware of those issues. We have a nephew living in Texas, which does have that reciprocal DL relationship, and are figuring out getting a DL some way while staying with him. 

But your comments are appreciated! If you think of anything more, we are all ears!

Regards 
BC
Hello
the post is old but i answer anyway
i was born  in Pau, and have made my high school there, and since 2 years i teach maths in Pau Uni
the center is charming ; the nature and little villages around, and the possibility to explore moutains is fabulous
what you can find negative there as in most french cities is cars, cars, cars in some place of the city
but i find the mentality nice, and for the french way of life… it can be ideal
dont hesitate ask me questions if you wish to live in Pau, France :-)
Hello vincentdoucelemathoscope,

Welcome to expat.com!

Thank you for your wonderful insights that will surely benefit BCAZ.

If you have more information, do not hesitate to share them on this discussion.

Cheers,

Yoginee
Expat.com team
Thanks!!!
BC

@MrsFrench  Thank you for such a nice reply.