The Dune du Pilat (Europe’s largest sand dune) – France 2010

On leaving Arcachon, we succumbed to the temptation of seeing Europe’s largest sand dune and visited the Dune du Pilat, which is not that far away. It truly is a large sand dune with great views from the top – which is around 114m above sea level and is apparently extending eastwards at a rate of 4.5m per year. According to our guide, it has already swallowed a hotel…

The dune is almost 3km long and 114m high:

Dune de Pilat, France
Climbing to the top...
The dune goes on for miles...
The dune goes on for miles...

The dune is a major tourist attraction and like all such places, has an infrastructure designed to support the number of visitors it gets and extract lots of money from them…

All vehicles can park free for 30 minutes – after which motorhomes have to pay a rate of €8 for four hours (it’s €4 for cars). This seemed a bit steep to us so we were determined to see the dune in 30 minutes. It is possible – just. We made it to the top of the dune, took photos, came down again, validated our car park ticket and were out in about 25 minutes, but if it had been busy, there would have been no chance!

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