Hiking at the highest sand dune in Europe

Between hiking and sandy beach, usually I always pick the latter. I’m not too keen of hiking, especially the mountainous trails.

But hiking at Dune of Pilat, in Le Teste de Buch, in the Arcachon Bay, not too far from Bordeaux, I thought, might be different. It’s hiking, but I could have the sands too. So, nearly win-win!

This famous dune is quite accessible with public transportation from Bordeaux. I chose to take the TER train (regional train) from Bordeaux to Arcachon (around 50 minutes), and took the bus line 1, the stop is just outside the station (at the parking lot, near public toilet, if you want to ask me!). The train ticket costs 15 euros only return trip using the Ocean pass (during summer), and the bus costs only 1 euro one single trip).

The bus comes every hour, and I just missed it, thanks to my bladder emergency. So I started to talk to the guys at the bus stop, they were nice and also resourceful. So don’t hesitate to talk to them, you’d get some great tips to get around – and they’re pretty chatty too, not bad to accompany till the bus comes!

The bus is quite full inside, and I can assure you that most of the passengers get off at Dune of Pilat, so you won’t have to wonder where to stop in the next 35 minutes.

So we started to walk from the big roundabout (the driver said that that’s  the same bus stop to get back to Arcachon train station), and I passed the forest with some cafetarias, souvenirs shop….and suddenly my shoes hit the sand. I changed with the sandals, and…the more I walk, the more sands covering my feet, so I decided to walk bare foot, and without me knowing it, turned out that I already mounted the trail, and the sands felt heavier.

And I saw this…..dune

The dune!! Yayyy!

Errr……What’s the stairs got to do there?

And why are  the people walking so slow…..?

It was just the at the bottom of the dune, so….now the trail is getting more serious. I tried to climb the sands up, but I kept sliding down. And it was heavy to walk against the height, on the sands, and it was soooooo hot (it was heatwave week in France). So I cheated, and took the stairs hehehehehee.

But since it was quite high, and the stairs were covered by sands, it wasn’t that easy either. Plus, I’m acrophobic! Once you’re climbing up, don’t look down!

Some breaths later….I arrived at almost the peak of the dune and able to see both sides : the forest on the left side, and the ocean on the right side.

P1230654

Getting there just on lunch time, I could just unpack my lunch and enjoying the breathtaking view underneath. And half hour later, I realized that there was another part higher than where I sat down. Took me some efforts to continue walking, but it was like personal challenge. I was already there, I should just go enjoy every inch of the 107 m above the sea level – dune, right!!!!P1230656

With the wind, the dune is moving closer to the forest side every year, and it risks of covering the residency below. The sands feels rougher on the forest side, and the view makes you want to trip down since it looks so steepy!P1230661P1230630

But on the other hand,the other side facing the ocean, and Cap Ferret from afar, giving a very nice warm (hello it was 37 degrees up here), and serene feeling despite the height.P1230624

I could just stay there the whole day if I didn’t remember that I wanted to cross the bay to Cap Ferret. So after lunch, some sleeps, and some selfies, I encouraged my self to glide down the sandy hill……It was ok, I stumbled several times, but at least I knew that even though I made bad landings, i would have landed at the sea:: :p

 

 

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