The impetus of the Counter Reformation

There was once a convent on this square, and it was around this that the entire quarter developed. It was established in the 17th century as part of the Counter Reformation, which had significant consequences for Pau.

  • Image
    plan de 1717 de la ville de Pau
    Plan de la ville de Pau en 1717, par H. Matis
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    Portrait de Jeanne d'Albret
    Portrait de Jeanne d'Albret, 1550, (c) Gallica BNF
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    portrait de Louis XIII
    Portrait de Louis XIII, (c) MET New York
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    statue d'Henri IV
    Statue d'Henri IV, Musée national et domaine du château de Pau
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    pont des cordeliers
    Le pont des cordeliers
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In 1560, Jeanne d’Albret converted to Protestantism and first encouraged, then imposed, this new religion on the Kingdom of Navarre, whose court was in Pau. Her son Henry IV, King of France and Navarre, tried to restore peace between the Catholics and the Protestants by signing the Edict of Nantes in 1598. In the following century, the Catholic Church, supported by Louis XIII, wished to reaffirm its influence. This movement, called the Counter Reformation, resulted in many convents being formed in Pau.

On the Place de la Libération in front of you, the Convent of the Cordeliers was created around 1650, in an area that was then uninhabited. Its buildings were located where the court now stands, at the top of the square, and its cloister was where the pergola now grows.

A bridge was built over the Hédas to make it easier to access the city. Gradually, dwellings were built around the convent.

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