Monday, January 26, 2015

Chateau de Pau: Royal Birth: Henri IV, the Bourbon King. And the modern Necessary

The Bourbon family came into its own with its first king in this ruling dynasty.  Henri IV was born here, born Catholic, raised Calvinist. It is 1553.   Hurry the mother, one Protestant Jeanne D'Albret, whose father is Henry II of Navarre and whose mother is sister to King Francis I of France.  Hurry her by carriage down winter roads from Paris. She, one of the greatest of Huguenot supporters, of strong will and "keen intellect," and a fighter, see Reformed Royalty: the Strength of Queen Jeanne D'Albret.  Note that she is called "terrible" at a descriptive Pau website, at  She, while pregnant, fought in Picardy against Charles of Spain.  Terrible.

The entry-way dwarfs the mere son of commoners, gawking.  In this courtyard also walked Marie Antoinette, and then Napoleon.

Pass the wee chapel.

Henri's initials adorn columns, walls, ceilings.

Henri straddles Catholic and Calvinist worlds, becoming Catholic again in order to save his life when threatened.  Expedience works.

Architecture: Spend time at the old chateaux, old palaces, castles.  See /  Admire the detail. Figures and faces incorporated everywhere, at all angles. Some cherubic, with wings.

More grandeur!  Details at

II.  Chateau de Pau interior

Enter to find the birth room.  Tapestries, needlework.  On the walls at Pau.  What is the theme?  The child Henri IV, with his parents?

Tapestry dogs.  Look close.   Love those faces.

The child is brought from the birthing room.  His grandfather has touched the babe's lips with garlic and wine. See Henri IV of France: His Reign and Age,by Vincent J. Pitts.  Scroll to preceding pages for details of the birth.

The mother watches. She does not look so terrible.

The queen's birthing bed is carved, opulent, of course.

Is that a satyr nearby?  Did Henri develop a rakish streak? It seems so, but he remained beloved.  See  No, this is not a Roman Satyr because the feet are not cloven.  Earlier Greek satyrs had regular feet, however, see

Henri introduced the fashion of men's earrings and bracelets to the French.  See  The site notes his "appetite for love". 

The royal cradle.  The place of the Bearn baptism, the touching of garlic and wine to the baby's lips?  See  Or was that in the arms of someone? Details matter.

A closer look at the fanfare.  A print shows more detail, at
I. Chateau de Pau exterior

III.  Themes at Chateau de Pau. Birthplace of Henri IV.

A.  Crowds

B.  Details in carving

A close-up of the carving of a chest in the bedroom of the Queen where Henri IV was born.

C.  The good king.

 Here is Henri playing with his children.  He not uncommonly conducted his audiences while doing so.

IV. The electronic modern necessary. Going and coming.

And, in the parking lot nearby, a European "necessary" that puts all of ours to shame.  Enter the great sliding door.

Admire the compact size.

Inside, let the rotating entry-exit door do its thing, note all is automatic except the person's effort, including automatic spray disinfectant as you leave. 

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