Grande Dune du Pilat

After lunch, we drove south around Arcachon Bay toward the gigantic sand dune known as Grande Dune du Pilat. This dune is almost 350 feet high and is supposedly the tallest sand dune in Europe. Fortunately, there’s a fiberglass staircase going up a good part of the way.

Like the dunes we saw in Skagen, Denmark, this dune, blown by the wind, also moves over time as you can see here, evidenced by these partially buried trees.

Nearing what we thought was the top, we discovered that the dune is even larger than it looked from its base.

There was quite a vista from the top of the stairs.

Once at the top of the stairs, everybody walked the ridge line, looking for somewhere to sunbathe.

We found a place to sit down and I took this panorama photo with Arcachon Bay and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.

All of a sudden, a group of 20-year-olds next to us got up and started racing down the dune…

…all the way to the water. That’s when I noticed how high we were – there was a helicopter down there over the bay!

We thought about trekking out to the furthest part of the dune; we could see a hang glider taking off way over there,…

…but it was just too far to go, so we turned around and headed back.

Going downhill was a lot easier than going up on the stairs; it was kind of like snow-skiing.

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