The Great Dune of Pilat — the largest sand dune in Europe– is a huge formation of natural coastal sand accumulated on the aquatic coast of the Bay of Biscay at the entrance of Arcachon Bay. The dune is located in the municipality of La Teste-de-Buch, a commune belonging to the department of Gironde and the natural region of the Pays de Buch, southwest of France.
In 1978 Dune of Pilat was declared a protected area as a Grand Site National under the Law of May 2, 1930, later included in Article 24 of the Environment Code by Law 2002-92 of January 22, 2002, on ” the protection of the natural monuments and the places of artistic, historical, legendary or picturesque character “, that are recognized by their great notoriety and tourist attraction.
The Dune of Pilat receives between 1 and 1.5 million visitors a year attracted by the beauty of the place and the exceptional views of Arcachon Bay and Cape Ferret, which can be seen from the top of the dune.
Access : Coordinates: / You can get to the dune from the resort town of Arcachon (distance is 8 km), or from Bordeaux (distance 60 km) / By car : A63 -> Bayonne ou A63 -> Bordeaux .A660 -> Arcachon , N250 -> La Teste de Buch , D259 -> Dune of Pilat.
/ Public transport : Network operated by Baia, public transport of the agglomeration of Arcachon. / By bike : Excellent network of cycle paths -along the dune and towards La Teste de Buch and Pyla sur Mer.
/ By train : TGV or TER to Arcachon, then take the bus.Bordeaux-Arcachon train./ Boat Shuttles : Dune of Pilat <-> Cap Ferret.
- In the summer months, a staircase is built to allow visitors to climb the dune, an activity that attracts more than one million visitors each year. The Basics Located between the Atlantic Ocean and an extensive pine forest.
- Dune of Pilat : This is the highest sand dune in Europe, 616 m wide from east to west and 2.9 km from north to south. The height of the quilt is constantly changing due to the winds. Height 2018: 106.6 m.
- Paragliding above the dune : The Great Dune of Pilat is also one of the reference places for the practice of paragliding flight, which during the month of June congregates numerous spectators who attend the competition tests of the Wagas Festival.
- Depending on the weather, there are also: children’s games workshops, an observation post with spyglasses on the crest of the dune, a path to discover the forest and an exhibition on the hidden face of the dune.
- Taking photos of the monumental sandbar is also a popular activity, especially at sunset, and the strong winds that often blow here attract hard-core kiters and paragliders.
When to arrive : The Dune of Pilat is open all year. It is much easier to climb the dune when the ladder is in place, from Easter weekend until the end of October, but you can try to climb it at any time of the year. The sunset is a particularly pleasant time to visit.
Activities : sightseeing / photo opportunities / trekking / Paragliding above the dune./ Guided Tours /Discover the Atlantic Coast, with stretches of sandy beaches / environmental interpretation / landscape observation
Go next : La Pointe, or Punta de Cap-Ferret is the beach that offers fantastic views of the Pilat dune / the famous lighthouse of Cap Ferret / The Ile aux Oiseaux (Bird Island) / the villages: Grand-Piquey, Piraillan, Le Canon, L’Herbe / Mont-de-Marsan is a commune and capital of the Landes department in Aquitaine in southwestern France./ The Lege-Cap Ferret peninsula, with expansive pine forests and sandy beaches, is home to ten charming oyster-farming villages.