Baptized with garlic, Henri showed his face in Pau castle

Henri IVHenri IV | ©the lost gallery / CC-BY

Ewe with a Bearnaise sauce

A worried father paced up and down in the castle: Henri d’Albret. His pregnant daughter Jeanne's delivery was coming and it made his blood boiled.

Henri hoped his grandchild would be a boy. So one day he gave Jeanne a “big golden box with money and jewels inside. He locked the box and said to her: you'll get it, but you have to give me a grandson, a baby boy…”

Garlic and jurançon

Oh, he was born, finally! Do you hear him? Henri (future king of France Henri IV) was born: his grandpa was so happy… he gave the golden box to his daughter, saying: “This is for you, my lady, but this is mine” and he took the baby to show him to the crowd, waiting in front of the window’s castle. And he rubbed a garlic on the baby’s lips and gave him a gulp of Jurançon wine, saying: “You’ll be a real man from Béarn”…

Let’s get cracking!

Little Henri was raised with the Béarn way, in rude landscapes, with other local kids. When he came back in Pau to see his mother, he led a pretty austere life: he worked hard (his mother didn’t want a “crowned fool”), ate frugally (sweets and sauces forbidden!) and slept on a simple straw mattress, on the floor, with his clothes… after hours of sleep, he woke up and went to his riding lesson…

A turtle in the turmoil

When he was a baby, Henri slept in a cradle made of a turtle shell, a big creature about 2 metres long! It had a close shave! Because during the French Revolution, a royalist felt things were going to degenerate. So he exchanged the cradle with a common shell and hid the original in a safe place. Phew!

Fury people came few days later and plundered everything, the shell included. They gave it back to the castle when the Bourbons get their throne back… besides, trophies on the cradle are a gift from Louis XVIII himself (duchess of Angoulême sewed herself the flags).