Four Cities

16. Musée Bernadotte


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Way back in 1776, this house in Pau saw the birth of a certain Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. Originally, he was not qualified to make a military career, as he was not of noble class. But the French revolution changed all that, and Monsieur Bernadotte rose to be one of Napoleon's most able generals. Not was only was he a good officer, but he also possessed very good administrative skills. This brought him all the way to the throne. No, not the French throne, but the Swedish. In 1810 he was elected heir to the Swedish throne, as Gustav IV Adolf had been deposed a year later and been replaced by his childless and elderly uncle. In 1818 he became king Charles XIV, but in practice he was at the helm from day one in 1810, and he led Sweden out of the misery caused by having lost all of Finland to Russia one year earlier.

So of course, as a loyal Swede travelling from Toulouse to Bayonne, I felt compelled to break the journey in Pau and find this house which today is a museum. Thankfully, they had a lunch break when I was there. And no, I did not come back later. After all, I am of the opinion that C-G (our current king) should have the guts to take the challenge in a presidential election.