Thursday, 14 July 2011

Henry IV Castle, Pau, France

This 12 cm x 9.5 cm (4.75" x 3.75") pen & ink sketch is of the Henry IV Castle, Pau where Stage 16 of the 2010 Tour de France finished. Built on a rocky ridge overlooking a ford on the River Gave, the castle’s foundations date from the early Middle-Ages. But the present form of the castle is thanks to Gaston Febus, viscount of Bearn in the 14th century. Henri IV one of France's most popular kings was born here in 1553 and ruled during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, until he was murdered in 1610 in Paris. He is remembered for the Edict of Nantes by which he gave back the rights and possessions of the Protestants.

Restored by King Louis-Philippe, the castle became a museum in 1926. Alongside the royal apartments, it is home to several collections devoted to King Henri and a great number of tapestries, making it the biggest tapestry museum in France outside Paris.

My sketch is based mainly on reference photographs by Jibi44 and Pierre Ollivier, plus a few uncredited photographs that I found on the internet.

Pau is also associated with the aviation industry in France. It is where the world's first flying school was inaugurated by the Wright brothers in 1909. Roland Garros (after whom the venue of the French Open Tennis tournament is named) was one of the pilots who graduated from this school.

Stage 16 started from Bagneres de Luchon on the 18th day of the Tour de France 2010, and finished at Pau. This represented one of the tougher segments of the year's race. It was a 199.5 km (124 miles) gruelling mountain stage with two Category 1 and two Category H climbs. The Stage was won by Pierrick Fedrigo, while Alberto Contador clung on to the lead that he had so controversially acquired the previous day in the overall (yellow jersey) classification. Thor Hushovd took the lead once again from Alessandro Petacchi in the sprints point classification for the green jersey. Anthony Charteau and Andy Schleck retained their leads in the king of the mountains (polka jersey), and the best young rider (white jersey) classifications.

No comments:

Post a Comment