Arcachon is a town facing a basin of Atlantic sea, on the western side of France. It’s about fifty kilometers south of Bordeaux and easy to reach by train. The town is relatively new. It was covered by the pine trees of the Landes forest and little wooden huts just 150 years ago.
A chilled sea-side town
Today the bay near the town is a popular swimming spot with soft, sandy beaches. Arcachon is also well-known for its delicious oysters. We went there just to see the impressive Dune du Pyla (sometimes also spelt: Dune du Pilat). This is the largest dune in Europe and it grows every year.
The biggest dune in Europe
The sand dune is massive. It’s about 3 kilometres wide and over 100 meters tall. To reach the dune, you can park in the designated parking area for about €4 an hour if you’re driving and walk along through the trees. When you see the stairway up to the dune through the green, you’ll get an idea of what you’re in for. It’s a steep, and often busy walk, to the top. And once you’re right at the top, almost all you can see on the land side, is trees. In the other direction is a wide and beautiful view of the sea, sand banks and little islands. It’s definitely worth a visit!
Travel tip: You can make it to the top of the dune and back down in an hour if you’re tight on parking money (we did it!)