September 22, 2018
As before every trip, we asked our friends what not to miss in the beautiful city of wine, Bordeaux. Sandra (be sure to check her blog) was insisting not to leave without a picnic on Dune du Pilat. „Take some wine, food and enjoy the view from the highest sand dune in Europe“. Sooo, with a bottle of wine, we set out for a one-day trip which was worth every sand bite we couldn’t get rid of the next few days:)
GoodToKnow: The dune was formed gradually, year by year. Nearly 3 kilometers long – 500 meters wide – 110 meters high – and huge: the mass of 60 million m3 of sand. Scientists claim that the dune exists for about eight thousand years. And has never ever stopped moving. It is even called a living creature. The height of the dune has increased by almost one hundred meters and today it is growing on average for 5 meters per year.
In the early morning, we head up to the Market. We were rolling through the aisles of the biggest market in Bordeaux. The belly of Bordeaux; Marché des Capucins. Ready with a bag full of croissants, baguettes, cheeses, quiches, and a cold wine bottle, we head towards the main train station. Dune du Pilat is located 60 kilometers from Bordeaux, in La Teste-de-Buch in the Arcachon Bay.
JustToKnow: You have to catch the train from Bordeaux to Arcachon (about 50 minutes). Then you change for a bus from Arcachon to Dune du Pilat (about 30 minutes). And a short walk to reach the „climbing point“ to the top (about 15 minutes). Don’t worry; it’s much easier than it sounds.
First catch: From Bordeaux St. Jean train station you can catch the train since 6:06 am every half an hour until 10:35 pm during the weekdays. On Saturdays, trains go since 7:35 am every hour until 10.35pm (on Sunday since 8.35 am).
JustToKnow: The Word Pilat comes from a Gascon word Pilhar, which means heap/mound.
Next catch: You have to change for a bus in Arcachon. In front of the railway station, you will see a crowd of people gathering in front of the bus stop. And a lady selling tickets. When the bus comes you just enter. Close to the bus stop, there is a small café where you can grab a quick coffee. Times differ, so be sure to check the timetable HERE. It takes less than 30 minutes to get to the dune, of course – depending on the traffic. On the way back, we hardly caught the train to Bordeaux because the bus was late and the traffic so slow.. Imagine, nearly 30 people running as marathon sprinters (some of them with two kids on their arms) after the bus opened its doors, to catch the train leaving in 2 minutes:)
Last catch: When you reach the Dune du Pilat, just follow the people heading to the sand dune. It takes you around 15 minutes walk. When we were there, there were A LOT OF PEOPLE. I’m sure it depends on the season. However, don’t be scared, still.. All the way up, you can find a space, where you can set up your blanket and enjoy the picnic peacefully with basically no people around.
And a very very important note: Do not forget to take suncream and water with you! It’s nice to have a bottle of wine, but without water… You certainly do not want to climb down to buy it at 30 degrees and then climb back.
Enjoy the biggest European sandpit!
And as always: Photos by Tino’s Analog camera Olympus Mju:
Hungry for more Bordeaux tips? Read about what to definitely taste in Bordeaux: France – Bordeaux: Best Foodie Tips To Taste & Drink