Best of France: The great Dune of Pyla


The Dune du Pyla (or Pylat or Pilat as it is alternatively spelled) is a great dune of the world and the biggest in Europe at almost two miles long, just over 1500 feet wide, and 350 feet high. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Bordeaux and is worth a visit, although it’s got a kind of Lawrence of Arabia vibe – which is to say that it is a huge pile of sand that blows around and sticks to the sunblock you have assiduously applied in the face of the wicked South-of-France light. Tommy in particular didn’t really care for it – too hot, too sandy, and way too far above the water, which tormented him like a mirage. But he did eventually lie down and make some sand angels. The great dune feels like something you should see and climb up, if only to survey the North Atlantic from the top.

When it’s time to descend, however, the fun really begins. I walked down the stairs, but other members of my party decided to take a more direct route, mouthfuls of sand be darned.

This post is part of my Postcards from the Road, Summer 2012 series, where I’ll be sharing short pictorial posts of our adventures in Europe from the road. Tomorrow we’ll step back in time 17,000 years, so be sure to come back for a visit.

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