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Pau also plays the role of cultural capital with many events, including sports.Pau's heritage extends over several centuries, its diversity and its quality allowed it to obtain the label of City of Art and History in 2011.The name of its people is Palois and the motto of Pau is in Latin: Urbis palladium et gentis ("protective of the city and its people").Pau is 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean and 50 km (31 miles) from the Pyrenees. The frontier is crossed by the col du Somport (1,631 metres (5,351 feet)) and the col du Pourtalet (1,794 m (5,886 ft)).It was home to the Parliament of Navarre and Béarn which wrote its texts in Occitan until the Revolution and its dismantling to create the Department of Basses-Pyrénées (becoming Pyrénées-Atlantiques in 1969).It was during the 18th century when another famous person was born in Pau, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte who became Marshal of the Empire and King of Sweden (today, still the ruling dynasty) and Norway from 1818 until his death in 1844.The Belle Époque marked a resurgence for the Béarnaise capital with a massive influx of wealthy foreign tourists (including English but also Russian, Spanish and American), they came to spend the winter to take advantage of the benefits of Pau's climate described by the Scottish physician Alexander Taylor.Pau turned widely with the construction of many villas and mansions to accommodate these wintering rich people, the city also developed all elements of modernity for their comfort: baths, funicular and railway station.

The city thus took its name from the stockade (pau in Bearnese) which set the boundaries of the primitive castle.The city plays a leading role for Béarn but also for a wide segment of the Adour area.An administrative capital, it boasts a dense economic fabric including service activities.The city is connected to the Spain through the Somport tunnel and the Col du Pourtalet.The city, located at an average altitude of 200 metres (660 ft), is crossed by the Gave de Pau, where a ford gave passage to the Pyrenees.

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