The villas of the resort town

You are now in a quarter filled with villas that were built when Pau was a very popular destination as a resort town. Claude Laroche, a researcher for the cultural heritage and inventory department of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, presents the main characteristics of these luxury residences and some examples of Pau’s grandest villas.

Also watch this video in spanish langage

Interview of Claude Laroche :

"Pau’s luxury villas were built around large parks and based on highly developed housing projects, with bedrooms upstairs and reception areas downstairs, on ground floors that were often raised because, at the time, kitchens could still be found in basements, with dumbwaiter and pantry systems in place.

Views were extremely important for villas built during this period.

The Villa St Basile, built in the 1880s, was transformed into its current stature around the 1930s, particularly the living room’s exquisitely beautiful décor from the painter René Marie Castaing in 1935.
A little further on, the Villa Sorrento is one of the most spectacular. It was built in two main stages. The first stage was in 1884, a first module to which an extension was added later, around 1903, including the upper levels, the colonnade and the rotunda, which was what made the Villa Sorrento look so spectacular.
The Villa Biatrix is located on the edge of Pau and Billère.

These villas followed current trends and expressions. They were often highly technical structures designed by nationally or locally renowned architects.
All the luxury villas I have mentioned often had Parisian or local sponsors or were managed by prominent officials who were local and very rarely English.
The English later rented or bought villas that had not been built specifically for them. As such, the idea of the “English villa” should be put into perspective.

A second phase began roughly at the start of the 20th century. Villas built at this time were physically connected, which was the case in other cities. They were often managed by locals who wanted a little more space than in the city centre, with a clientele that no longer consisted of great crowned heads or world leaders, but university professors, doctors, etc. This was a new and different phase for Pau's villas."

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