Pau (pō) [key], city (1990 pop. 83,928), capital of Pyrénées-Atlantiques dept., SW France, at the foot of the Pyrenees. It is a major year-round tourist center, renowned for its spa and winter sports, as well as its scenery. It has metallurgical and wool industries, and aeronautical equipment, shoes, and clothing are manufactured. Founded in the 11th cent., it became the capital of Béarn in the 15th cent. and the residence of the kings of Navarre in 1512. Henry IV was born in its château. Its university was founded in 1724.
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