Revel in the sight of fine horses, and take in the horse power at the Circuit de Pau Arnos
There was an air of festivity in Pau the day we arrived. ‘The Stars of Pau', an international equestrian event, was well underway and the Domaine de Sers, a beautiful and verdant horse training centre was a venue for competitions shows and entertainment.
Pau is the base city if you want to visit the French side of the Pyrenees. It is a charming little place that feels like it was a village that grew up to become a town.
Tucked away in the South-west of France, you feel nice and cosseted by its charm. The Stars of Pau has evolved from an idea put forth by Doctor Chambaud, Mayor of Lons, in October 1990, to create an international equestrian event in Pau.
From a CCI event (Concours Complet d'Equitation) with one star accreditation in 1991, the Stars of Pau today is a five-star CCI event that is one of the most prestigious ones on the world-wide equestrian circuit.
The main attractions, of course, were the fine horses and their riders, as they showcased how well they complemented and understood each other. Every rider knew his or her horse intimately, and it showed as they went around the cross-country obstacle course.
But, besides that, there was entertainment for the entire family. Set up was an exhibitor's village with more than 70 exhibitors offering a diverse selection of local and international goods to sample and take home. These ranged from shops offering luxury goods, horse and rider equipments, rural crafts and wine and champagne.
Children were kept happy with pony rides, and I was very happy with the fantastic food stalls that included yummy crepes with Nutella and stuffed French croissants.
Watching horses and pretty riders and indulging in fine French fare was all very good, but I prefer my horses contained within a crankcase.
Fortunately, to fulfil my lust for some speed and smell of burning rubber, there was the Circuit de Pau Arnos. This motor car race track is located about 26 km to the north of the city and is surrounded by spectacular scenery.
This pretty setting, along with the roar of engines that are just meant to make a car go at breakneck speeds and the smell of hot metal, only serves to heighten excitement.
They offer Formula 3 driving experiences which are fantastic for those who've always been fans of motorcar racing and have wondered what it would be like to drive a race car. Trust me, it is not very simple. I mean you can drive it, but that is not enough; you need to be able to push it to its limit. And, for that, they have instructors who teach you how to do so.
Pau Arnos is a fast and very technical three-km circuit that that demands a lot of work from the driver and the vehicle. It has a wide variety of corners that every turn exciting and challenging.
For all you guys who think you can drive well and drive fast, go to the Arnos Circuit in Pau — it is an exciting lesson in humility.
For more information, visit www.circuit-pau-arnos.com