In the 15th century, the viscount of Béarn, Gaston IV, made Pau the capital of his territory by deciding it would be the location of the Court of the Seneschal, which exercised judicial power, and later moving the seat of his viscounty there.
In 1620, the French king Louis XIII attached Béarn to France and chose Pau as the intermediary for the French Crown. It was his way of paying tribute to his father, Henry IV.
The Parliament of Navarre, a symbol of royal power and the building in front of which you are standing, was a court of justice that recorded royal edicts and resolved conflicts. Before 1620, the building was a residence for bishops, and later the seat of various institutions. It was destroyed in a fire in 1716 and later rebuilt. After the French Revolution, it remained a court of justice until 1856.
The “Parliament Tower” is the former bell tower of the Church of Saint Martin, which stood here until it was destroyed in 1884.