Posts Tagged ‘dune de pilat’


Visit to the Dune de Pilat, 13th July 2017

In Bordeaux,France on July 15, 2017 by cubsur51 Tagged: ,

Having read and watched a lot about the Dune de Pilat, I decided to make a visit. The Dune de Pilat (sometimes spelled Pyla) is Europe’s largest sand dune. It is assessed as being 110 metres high, 500 metres wide at the base and 2.7km long. In fact, a headline in the local newspaper that day claimed it has grown in height 1.3 metres this year.

There are steps laid into the dune, but the proper way is walk up the soft sand to the top. The view, if you get there, is worth it.


The sand is very soft and the walk is across the slope rather than direct, so it quite hard work. Safe to day I did make it but knew about the effort on arrival!


The view is good, this picture shows the bay, Arcachon town is off to the right out of shot. Across the bay is the Lege Cap Ferret holiday spot.


Down below the dune is a sandbank, the Banc D’Arguin, obviously a popular place for people with boats to visit.


Immediately below the dune is a rocky beach, covered at low tide, where children can look for creatures.


The height of the dunes makes the area an ideal base for hang gilders. These are 1km or so south of the main dune itself.

Further along, a boat takes people across to the sandbank.


As with much of the coast, the erosion over the last 75 years has resulted in World War  Two German defences now being underwater even at low tide, showing how far the sea has come in.


And, finally, the rather splendid war memorial at Arcachon, bedecked with flags.



Arcachon is about 1 hour by local train south-west of Bordeaux. Trains run about once each hour, every day. Cheap day return fare of €15 was available when I made the trip. From the Railway station, bus number 1 runs about every 40 minutes in summer to the Dune, the fare is only 1 Euro. Helpfully, one of the bus company staff was selling tickets at the stop. The bus I took was absolutely full. The journey takes about 30 minutes and is a bit of a tour around the town at first. There is a also a less frequent service from the railway station at La Teste de Buch – bus website – only available in French.

It usually takes also about an hour to drive between Bordeaux and Arcachon, probably longer on peak summer days.

The bus stops about 10 minutes walk from the steps. There are several large car parks  there also plus expensive cafés and souvenir type shops. The queue for toilets was huge, there are none on the dune and beach so many people were observed sneaking off into the nearby woods. The walk is along a path which gradually turns into a sandy track. it is totally unsuitable for any kind of wheelchair, buggy, baby carriage etc. Even if you could get them up the side of the Dune!