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Orthez

(3.8/5 based on 40+ reviews for 2 attractions)
Things to do: historic sites, museums
Orthez is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in south-western France.It lies 40 km NW of Pau on the Southern railway to Bayonne. The town also encompasses the small village of Sainte-Suzanne thus residents of the town are called either Orthéziens or Sainte-Suzannais. The population figures from 1999 give the population of the commune at 10,121 and of the canton at 16,168. In 1906, the town had 4,159 and the commune had 6,254.AdministrationOrthez has a judicial court but not an appeals court. It was the seat of a subprefecture from 1800 until 1926 (the dates of the creation and abolition of the arrondissement (district) of Orthez).GeographyOrthez straddles the westward-flowing Gave de Pau with most of the town proper lying on the right bank. However there are several residential developments and an industrial park on the left bank not to mention Sainte-Suzanne, an integral part of the town. A partially artificial lake called 'Lac de l'y grec' (usually just spelled 'Lac de l'Y' i.e. 'Y Lake') has a pleasant and scenic walking trail.SightsThe Gave de Pau is crossed at this point by a 14th-century bridge which has four arches and is surmounted at its centre by a tower. Several old houses, and a church of the 12th, 14th and 15th centuries are of some interest, but the most remarkable building is the Tour Moncade, a pentagonal tower of the 13th century, once the keep of a castle of the viscounts of Béarn, and now used as a meteorological observatory. A building of the 17th century is all that remains of the old Calvinist university (see below). The town hall is a modern building containing the library.
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