Dune de Pyla, climbing during the holidays!

On the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, just south of the Bassin d'Arcachon, in the Gironde region, lies one of the most visited tourist attractions of South West France: Dune de Pyla, also called Dune de Pilat or Dune de Pila . Every year more than 2 million people visit. In 1978 the dune was designated by the government as an important tourist location.

Unique in France and Europe

Dune de Pyla has an enormous size: from west to east, so inland this enormous sand dune is more than 600 meters wide. The length is almost 3 km from north to south. The height is around 110 meters, making it the highest dune in Europe. The height of course varies. This is different after every sandstorm. All in all, it is estimated that around 55 million cubic meters of sand.

Dune de Pyla originated in the 18th and 19th centuries. Due to the flow of water from the Atlantic Ocean, a sandbank has been created called Arguin. At low tide it often became dry. The wind blew the sand to the coast. As a result, the existing sand dune has grown by tens of meters over the course of a century. In addition, it is said that sand from the Sahara has caused the dune to grow further.

This largest dune in Europe moves 4.5 meters to the east every year. Trees, an intersection and even a hotel have disappeared under the sand.

To the highest dune in your holiday region

On the D 218, the coastal road from Arcachon to Biscarosse, you can see Dune de Pyla from afar. For the paid parking it can be busy unless you go at the start or end of the day. The last part you walk past hospitality, souvenir shops and other tourist services. Access to the dune is free. A long flight of stairs must then be climbed. Once you reach the top you will soon forget that.

View over part of the Aquitaine

From the top you have a beautiful view. To the east you look out over the pine forests. In clear weather, the peaks of the Pyrenees are visible in the south. The Atlantic Ocean is on the law side. The sandbanks at the mouth of the Bassin d’Arcachon are clearly visible. Also the Banc d’Arguin and Cap Ferret bird sanctuary.

Diversity of tourists from Dune de Pyla

Most tourists climb the dune to enjoy the beautiful view. Others want to sunbathe at a high level. You can also go swimming.
A whole different group comes to this high sand dune for sporting reasons. Parapenting as the French call it, the English call it paragliding is very popular. Float down from the top. In nice weather there are many colorful screens. Certified instructors associated with "Pyla Parapente" are ready to teach.
Others come to "sand board", go down the slope with a snowboard as if it were snow.

If you are going to the coast for a day, be sure to visit Dune de Pyla. You will have an unforgettable experience.

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