Thursday 4 July 2019

Dune of Pilat, France

I'm doing another location post because mainly because I'm here, but also because this was mentioned in my interviews with Alex Bird & Vitor Semedo this year and I thought I'd come here and see what I could find for myself!

The Dune of Pilat (also known as Dune of Pyla) is the tallest free-standing sand dune in Europe, this fact is so proudly shown at the park itself and at the passport control area at Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport; I was getting more and more excited the closer I got to the dune. Once you arrive, you will find yourself enter a large car park equipped with plenty of spaces for cars, bikes, and even coaches; this includes a café, toilet and washroom facilities on the park a few hundred metres away from the dune. The parking fees are generous and won't break the bank for your trip.

List of the prices as of 2nd July 2019.

In my interview with Vitor, he told me that you can sandboard on the dune but only on the side facing towards the beach; sandboarding towards the side facing the forest is forbidden, most likely to preserve the pine forests there. Despite being a nature reserve, it's worth noting that the site is open all year round and there's no limits to the beach or forest access near the dune.

Notice how the dune slowly creeps towards the trees.

The best things about this place is that there is a staircase to the top of the dune, this has been the first dune I've been able to climb without feeling the need to drink all of my available water; the other great feature of this dune is that the views once you reach the top are jaw-dropping! The dunes seem to go on forever and don't stop in one direction, the other direction shows you a stunning beach also with paragliding as its sport of choice! I've seen so many photos of this dune on the Internet, but once I saw it with my eyes, it hit me and I couldn't stop smiling!

They should have steps to the top of every dune as standard!

I actually came to do some recreational sandboarding over 2 days here; the first day did allow me to do some sandboarding but the sand in some places was wet and my board wouldn't move, I did manage to achieve a couple of good runs on the dune but the best one I did, my camera wasn't on! Sandboarding was able to be done but it required a lot of wax, a lot of patience, and a lot of skill; thankfully luck was on my side! The second day went without a hitch, aside from getting a lot of sand in my eyes and getting my board buried a few times because of the amount of sand here, overall I completely understand why so many tourists come here, I even saw some German, British, Swiss, and Dutch vehicles in the car park.

The wagon for my trip!

It is a task and a half to try and get public transport to the dune, even from the near towns of Arcachon & La-Teste-Du-Buch; it's not an easy task, I hired a car from Bordeaux's Airport as in my view, driving is pretty much the only viable option, especially with a big sandboard to hand; to summarise, it can take some time to get here, but it's open 24 hours (I'd recommend sandboarding in the evening during the hot summer months) got a spectacular beach, and dunes that don't seem to finish.

This is the main reason I got 3-day flight to Bordeaux, but I gotta say it was money well spent, I ticked off another sand dune and also, I got to visit France, I'll see you when I get home!

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