Climbing Dune du Pilat, Europe's Tallest Sand Dune

Climbing Dune du Pilat, Europe's Tallest Sand Dune

The Dune du Pilat is just an hour from Bordeaux, France By: Mark Edward Harris
Paraglide or picnic at the top of Dune du Pilat. // © 2016 Mark Edward Harris
Paraglide or picnic at the top of Dune du Pilat. // © 2016 Mark Edward Harris

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Dune du Pilat
www.dunedupilat.com

When one thinks of Bordeaux, France, there’s a good chance cellars of stacked French oak barrels, rather than mounds of sand, come to mind. Yet in the same prestigious region as some of the world’s best blends is the Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe.

While the site is relatively unknown to even the most well-traveled North Americans, many Europeans venture out to Arcachon Bay to hike, lounge and paraglide around the 1½-mile-long dune, which reaches a height of 360 feet above sea level.

For the perfect daylong itinerary in Arcachon, take the first boat over to Cap Ferret (not to be confused with the more well-known Cap Ferrat on the Cote d’Azur), stroll or bike through the small town to its lighthouse next to a restored World War II bunker, and then sail to the far side of the Dune du Pilat to traverse the dune.

Consider bringing a blanket and a picnic basket full of Bordeaux’s best treats for a mid-dune repas — but don’t forget the water bottles.

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