Travelers to Bordeaux, France should not miss including a visit to the La Dune du Pyla. Staying in Bordeaux apartment on a holiday tour, one can easily arrange a visit to this magnificent attraction at 60 km from Bordeaux, in the South of Arcachon Bay. It is also known as La Dune du Pilat, La Dune du Pylat, La Grande Dune, and in English, The Great Dune of Pyla or The Great Dune of Pilat. No matter how you call it, it refers to the same Dune of Pyla that is the highest sand dune in Europe which is currently at 107 meters high. Europe could be the last place one can even think of seeing a sand dune. And since it’s a sand dune, the height varies depending on how strong the wind blows in this part of France.
After making the rounds of Bordeaux city and all its majestic buildings, monuments, structures, and vineyards, from your Bordeaux holiday rental, you can make arrangements for a stay in a charming chamber d’hote or bed and breakfast in Andernos Les Bains which is on the north side of the Arcachon Basin or Bay, very near the La Dune du Pyla. It is a fantastic sight to see an extraordinarily huge sand dune which offers a breathtaking view atop. You can marvel at the changing colors and shapes of the dune depending on the time of day and season you time your visit.
La Dune du Pyla can be reached easily from Bordeaux as it is located in the Gironde department in southwestern France, just about at the entrance to the Arcachon Bay. It lies on the territory of La Teste de Buch which is about 40 km off Bordeaux.
If you visit the sand dune on a very clear day, you can get a glimpse of the Pyrenees mountains and the fantastic view over the Atlantic coast. La Dune du Pyla covers an expansive area of 500 meters inland and 2500 meters stretch along the coast.
La Dune du Pyla proudly stands in a wide area of sand dunes in the western part of the Aquitaine region. The sand dunes found in this region are classified into four basic shapes – parabolic dunes, crescent shaped or barchan dunes, round dunes and the foredune, or sand barrier along the shore. La Dune du Pyla forms part of the foredune as it has a sandbar just in front of the dune. There are an estimated total of 1500 dunes greater than 10 meters high but La Dune du Pyla is the largest. The great majority of the dunes in the area are quite stable with the pine forest anchoring the sand, but on the coastal strip, the foredune is constantly moving despite efforts to prevent the sand from moving inland. There are palisade fences and grasses were planted to try and halt the inevitable movement of the sand. La Dune du Pyla is said to be moving at an average of 3 to 4 meters inland every year. And by experts’ calculation and analysis, if the movement of the dune does not change at its current rate, in about 40 years the Biscarrosse road and the campsite found at foot of the slope will be buried under the sands.
By historical accounts, much of the sands that now form La Dune du Pyla has been deposited in the last few centuries. A smaller dune called Dune de la Grave was originally formed in this area which formed the base for La Dune du Pyla. Experts in the study of the interfaces or paleosols (the dark lines of sand and other debris running through the dune which are visible from the surface) determine that La Dune du Pyla has about a hundred years of existence or formation.