The Dune of Pilat
A stay in Gironde camping in the southwest of France would be incomplete without exploring one of the most beautiful natural sites of the Silver Coast, the dune of Pilat. Focus on the highest dune in Europe, on this gigantic sandbank which rises to 106 m above sea level, between the Atlantic Ocean and the pine forests.
Birth of an exceptional 4000-year-old site
Rome was not built in a day. The dune of Pilat either. This XXL dune, which stretches over 3 km in length, is the result of Mother Nature’s work begun more than four millennia ago. You will probably have to find your second breath when you reach the top, but no matter what, the 360 ° panoramic view of the ocean, the Arguin bench, the Landes forest and the Arcachon basin will be your greatest reward. And what a reward! To enjoy such a natural viewpoint, it took 40 centuries and the accumulation of several million cubic meters of sand. Do not believe that Mother Nature is sleeping peacefully on her laurels, because the Dune of Pilat is constantly in motion. It advances every year from 1 to 5 m towards the forest.
This exceptional site is accessible free of charge, by stairs over the sand. Only parking is chargeable, and the money collected is used to finance its conservation. Another advantage that is far from being negligible: the Dune of Pilat can be visited 365 days a year, and takes on a different appearance in each season depending on the light.
Dune du Pilat and sports activities
If you are visiting the Dune du Pilat with the family, consider taking your packed lunch with you and having a memorable picnic in the sand at the top of the dune. If you are a thrill-seeker, fly over it on a paraglider accompanied by a state-certified instructor. For free flight, inquire locally to know the prohibited areas. Hiking, swimming, kite flying and sandboarding are some of the most popular activities on and around the dune. Several other activities and events are organized on the site during the beautiful days of April in September.
Pilat or Pyla?
The dune of Pilat in Pyla-sur-Mer, admit that these two spellings are somewhat confusing. To dispel all doubts, it is advisable to explore the origin of the name of the dune, “pilàt”, which means “heap” in Gascon. Many websites and people will claim that both spellings are possible, but they are not: Pilat is the only one that is valid if you refer to the dune. The cause of this confusion? The spelling of the town where it is located, Pyla-sur-Mer.