The industrial lower city

At the bottom of the square runs a canal, on which a lock and an old mill can still be seen. These are evidence of the industrial activity around which the lower level of the city of Pau developed, around the Tour de la Monnaie tower. Listen to the story, which takes you back to the 16th century.

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    écluse du moulin
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    arrivée d'eau au moulin
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    ville basse de Pau
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    Henri II de Navarre
    Henri II de Navarre, (c) Gallica BNF
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    Plan de la ville de Pau en 1717
    Plan de la ville de Pau en 1717, par H. Matis
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The neighbourhood located on the banks of the Gave, in Pau’s lower city, began developing in the 16th century and focused on industrial activities. In 1524, Henry II of Navarre turned the brick tower at the foot of the castle and built by Gaston Fébus into a mint, today called the Tour de la Monnaie—the Money Tower. You are standing on the banks of the Ousse; it is said that Henry II had the river’s floodway pierced to move the wheels that set all the mint’s mechanisms in motion. Locks were put in place to control water levels. This source of hydraulic energy attracted other industrial activities, including windmills that were later turned into flour mills. Naturally, people settled around them.

The old royal bridge, built at the end of the 16th century, followed by the Bridge of 14 July, also contributed to the development of the neighbourhood, which became directly connected to the other side of the Gave.


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