1 The Hédas, a whole story
The popular district of Hédas, in Pau, symbol of the district as poor as it is full of life, appears in all its splendor in « Behold a pale horse », the Hollywood film released in 1964. The vacant lot is monopolized there by children playing in football between the pebbles.
Nearly 60 years later, Place Récaborde has been transformed. It became a tarmac car park that extended to the buildings to the west, to be finally returned to pedestrians in 2017. Today it is the heart of the creative city of Béarnaise culture, the Ciutat.
2 The « rue d’Espagne » invented for the film
In the rue René-Fournets, which leads from Hédas towards the north in the direction of the place of Verdun, we see the Traction Citroën which drives Gregory Peck and Omar Shariff in the film. It is renamed for the occasion « rue d’Espagne ». Gregory Peck lives there at number 17, in the first building on the right. The street has also changed in appearance. Once paved, it now has a coating that encourages a gentle pace and pedestrian strolling. A terrace has been set up under Gregory Peck’s theoretical apartment.
A few meters away, the pediment is still present today, and still serves as a football pitch for young people from Palois and Paloise – more rarely for pelota fans…
3 Place Gramont has changed a lot
It is on Place Gramont, the most beautiful in the city, some will say, that the bus of little Paco arrives who has just crossed the Pyrenees in the Hollywood film. In 2022, the square has evolved a lot, with this greenery in the center and the disappearance of the statue on the east side. It is now a large fountain that brings freshness to restaurants. Everything has kept its majestic side.
4 The descent of the Fountain, alias « the coast of the evildoers »
A little later in the film, we see the arrival of Gregory Peck on the Place Récaborde at Hédas aboard the Traction, which has come down from the town centre. The « coast of the fountain » or « coast of the evildoers », in the words of the Pau writer Celou Arasco, is still just as steep. Today, the small low wall on the left has disappeared after having remained for a long time and welcomed the sitting of students and night owls on Thursday evenings.
5 Passage Darracq, a « traboule » of the Hédas
The film couldn’t do without a passage in the… passage Darracq, which allows you to reach the Hédas from the rue des Cordeliers. We therefore see little Paco crossing this « traboule » (shortcuts that connect one street to another through one or more buildings, famous in Lyon) as there are a handful of them along the entire length of Hédas.
Now, the bookstore that you can see at the top of the passage has disappeared, but the street has come back to life after a decline in the early 2000s. It is now rich in shops and terraces.
6 Benches on Boulevard des Pyrénées
On the Boulevard des Pyrénées, the young Paco from the film “And Came the Day of Vengeance” hops on a bench that looks just like those of today. They have however been replaced several times, but those installed in 2021 have had the good taste to resume the design of yesteryear. A notable difference, however, is that palm trees have separated the road from the boulevard since the year 2000 and the terraces of cafes and restaurants now overflow onto the promenade.