The Les Etoiles de Pau is one of seven 5-star eventing competitions around the world and the only one in France.  Pau 5-star has been an annual event since 2007, held at the end of October each year and is the last 5-star competition for the season. Despite Covid, it was held in 2020 and again this year which is great news for the riders especially with so many of the competitions having been cancelled due to Covid-19.

The eventing is run over four days with dressage run on the first two days, cross country and show jumping on consecutive days.  The competition attracts nationalities from all over the world including Great Britain, North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.   This year there are riders from 10 different countries expected to compete in the 5-star competition.  Pau also hosts an Official 5-star International Horse-drawn Carriage Competition (CIAO) comprising a dressage event, a marathon and a cone event.

Where is the event held?

The city of Pau is a beautiful city on the northern edge of the Pyrenees in the south of France, complete with a castle and the Les Etoiles de Pau event is held at the Pau racecourse training facility close to town.

So what about the Cross country course

The cross country is well known for its sharp turn’s and zig-zagging course with man-made mounds and cross-country course designer Pierre Michelet makes the cross-country course interesting, technical and challenging for both horse and rider.

What else can visitors see at Les Etoiles de Pau?

The event also offers plenty of retail therapy in the exhibitor’s village with over 100 trade stands and local Frenchmen, Jean-Francois Pignon, a well know equestrian performer will be there to keep the crowds entertained.

Who will be representing Australians & New Zealand this year?

In 2021 there are two representatives from Australia and five from New Zealand.


  • Kevin McNab – Scuderia 1918 A Best Friend
  • Hazel Shannon – Willingapark Clifford

New Zealand

  • Madison Crowe – Waitangi Pinterest
  • Tayla Mason – Centennial
  • Caroline Powell, Caroline – Up Up and Away
  • Jonelle Price – McClaren
  • Tim Price – Falco

Both Jonelle and Tim Price competed recently at the inaugural 5-star Maryland at Fairhill competition which was held just two weeks ago.  Tim placed 3rd with Jonelle finishing in 7th place.  Let’s hope they can do just as well if not better here this weekend.  Australian rider Shane Rose and Virgil were 3rd in 2019 and New Zealander Andrew Nicholson won this event on Nereo in 2012

Pau the city

Pau is a beautiful French city located in Southwestern France, set along the Pyrenees mountains northern edge and very close to the Spanish border. A walk along central Pau’s Boulevard des Pyrenees and enjoy stunning views over the Pyrenees. Perhaps treat yourself to a delicious lunch in one of the many good restaurants in the old town.

The boulevard leads up to the castle of Château de Pau, the birthplace of King Henry IV of France and Navarre. It now displays tapestries, period furnishings and artworks. Pau is known as the city of art and history and has managed to preserve its heritage and boasts magnificent buildings scattered throughout the region.

Some places worth visiting if you have time

Pau Castle: One of the most popular tourist attractions in Pau, the chateau is the home to King Henri IV of France.

Bernadotte Museum: Birthplace of Jean Baptiste Bernadotte which now houses his collectables, documents and portraits.

Lescar Cathedral: A roman style Notre Dame Cathedral built in the early 12th century.

Little Train of Artouste: A little train ride at an altitude of 2000 metres, only runs May through November. It is one thing you wouldn’t want to miss.

Boulevard des Pyrenees: This is a historical promenade overlooking the Pyrenees is well worth a stroll.

National Horse farm at Tarbes: The National stud was re-established in 1806 by Napoleon which was initially to provide mounts for the army. In 1835, the Tarbes Stud provided 35% of the mounts for the light cavalry. It was here that the Anglo-Arabian breed was born, from the Tarbes horse. The buildings of the National Stud are classified as historical monuments and you can visit the Empire style stables, the main saddlery and the farriery. For a long time, the carriages and the historical collections have been a magnificent testimony. Guided tours and themed tours such as the one about the blacksmith allow you to discover this beautiful site.  Every July the Equestria Festival is held at the National horse farm in Tarbes which is an equestrian extravaganza.

How to get to Pau:

The train from Paris to Pau takes around 4 hours and 9 minutes, covering a distance of approximately 654 kilometres. On weekdays, the first train leaving Paris is scheduled to depart at around 06:23 am. The last departure is usually at around 17:53 pm.

The Pau-Pyrenees Airport is served by other French cities and some European destinations.  To get here, you will need to fly from Paris, Lyon, Marseille or other French cities. There is a shuttle bus that runs hourly from the airport into the centre of Pau.

Want to find out more! Snaffle Travel can provide a tailormade itinerary to suit your travel requirements.  Contact us at

Information courtesy of and Pau tourist information