After the Parliament of Navarre was created in 1620, Pau asserted its position as a town of dignitaries. This legal hub employed around fifty officials, members of the nobility, known among locals as “pen-pushers”, or “gratte-papès” in French.
The elite in Pau lived close to their place of work, in luxury private mansions built in the 17th and 18th centuries. The mansions were located mainly around the streets rue du Château, rue Joffre and rue Henri IV, just like the Hôtel de Peyré in front of which you are standing.
They usually boasted an intricate façade looking out onto the street to show off the owner’s success to passers-by. Their inner courtyard provided the space necessary to offer a wide perspective and accentuate the abode’s entrance and layout.
Inside, the décor—especially that of the staircases in dressed stone, sculpted wood or wrought iron—also reminded guests of the wealth and refinement of the residents.
5. Hôtel Peyré
This 17th-century private mansion belonged to the Peyré family, one of whose members…