Every year, the Dune of Pilat attracts more than one million tourists. This makes it (behind Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy) the second most visited natural monument in France. The combination of protected nature and tourism represents a real challenge, but one thing does not rule out the other.
Like a bird
Throughout the year, paragliders have fun above the dune...
Get the picture
Don't forget your camera, as you will take...
There are some places in southwestern France you shouldn't miss...
Where to sleep
Houses, appartments, hotels, campsites...
B a n c d ' A r g u i n
Every season, the Dune of Pilat offers visitors an unforgettable view over the Arguin sandbank, the largest sandbank off the coast of the Aquitaine Region. On the photo you can see in the background the waves of the Atlantic Ocean hitting relentlessly on its beaches. This sandbank, which actually consists of several parts, is a nature reserve. It is at low tide around 4 kilometers long and 2 kilometers wide. Because of tides, currents and wind, its shape and location are changing continuously. It protects the Dune of Pilat from the surf of the Atlantic Ocean. Many bird species are found here such as the sandwich tern, the Kentish plover and oystercatchers. The sandbank is of great importance to the oyster farmers of the Arcachon Bay.
C a p F e r r e t
Cap Ferret is a peninsula lying between the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Arcachon. Its tip is at just 3.5 km as the crow flies from the northern part of the dune.
T h e F o r e s t
East of the dune you will find a green ocean, i.e. the maritime pine forest of the Landes of Gascony. From the top of the dune, the trees seem to be so small, but they can reach a height of 30 metres.
A r c a c h o n B a y
Arcachon Bay is a bay of 155 km2 separated from the Atlantic ocean by the peninsula of Cap Ferret. The only access to the ocean is situated between the tip of Cap Ferret and the Dune of Pilat.
The river Leyre feeds the bay with freshwater. At low tide, only a quarter of this inland sea is covered by water.
This bay, simply called le bassin by the inhabitants, is well-known in France thanks to its oysters.
The Dune of Pilat, the Arguin sandbank, the Cap Ferret peninsula and parts of the forest are all belonging to the Arcachon Bay area.