I’d long been curious to visit Europe’s highest sand dunes.
I’d seen their spectacular images in photos often enough, but on various trips to France I’d never been close enough to merit a stop-by.
This time it was impossible to pass up on the chance to see this for myself.
Located in the Gironde, and not far from Bordeaux, the Dune du Pyla is an impressive natural landmark.
As Europe’s largest sand dune, it is about 3 km long, 500 meters wide, and tops up at an impressive 105 meters (305 ft) tall.
My younger son, an avid sprinter, knocked himself out sprinting up and down its slopes, declaring it the toughest workout he’d ever had. I wonder if the French national team boasts many sprinters hailing from this region…
After all that exhausting climbing, we descended to the Atlantic coastline for a refreshing swim, before mounting our Everest-like sand slope once again.
This spectacular creation illustrates the force of nature. Back in the 1850s, as the region began to develop as a winter resort for well-heeled patients suffereing various respiratory illnesses (the resin from the pine trees was said to have healing properties), this sand dune was only 35 meters (114 feet) high.
The Dune du Pyla is a spectacular site to see, and the trek up to then top was well worth some temporary discomfort to my tender ankle. Next time I’ll come back with a clean bill of health, so I can sprint up with my son…
Don’t miss out on the stunning Dune du Pyla when you’re next in this region of France.