Perched on top of a hill in the middle of town is the Castle of Pau. This is where King Henry IV was born and, if you are interested in that kind of thing, also houses the biggest and most beautiful collection of tapestries outside of Paris. The castle and its gardens are open to the public until sunset and are free of charge. After walking through the castle, if you come out via Boulevard des Pyrenees and you can’t miss I’Isle au Jasmin.
The terrace is covered with green beach chairs, each giving customers a stunning view of the Pyrenees although today because it is cloudy we had to imagine they are there. The owner assured us that they were there and that they are beautiful, “Come back tomorrow” she said “you will see them then”. I didn’t see hot chocolate on the menu so I asked her – “Today no hot chocolate, just coffee with whipped cream” she said. I didn’t realize that coffee with whip cream was an alternative to hot chocolate. You learn something new everyday.
As we walk out she stopped us and said that because it was a quiet day she would be happy to make me a hot chocolate. We sit ourselves down on the beach chairs outside to enjoy the sunset. The owner’s German Sheppard greets us, as she does all guests as they arrive, and sits down next to us until she sees a bird and runs off barking. “Be quiet” the owner shouts after her as she brings us our drinks, “be quiet or we will get in trouble!”.
My hot chocolate comes in a teapot with a teacup and saucer, all covered in pictures of pretty pink flowers. It smells incredible but I’m disappointed that it just tastes like warm milk. But who really cares with a view like this, the mountains in front, the castle to the right, a beautiful church to the left and a German Sheppard to keep you company.
Verdict: After visiting the castle stop here for tea and cakes. That is what she does and she does it well. The view and atmosphere are unbeatable. Follow it up with a trip down the funicular, which is only a few metres away. I’Isle au Jasmin, 28 Boulevard Pyrenees, Pau, France.