Dune du Pilat is, in my opinion, one of the best sights if you are in the Bordeaux area. Right by the Atlantic coast, it is the perfect starting point for a day at the ocean.
The Dune du Pilat is a “wandering dune”, so called because it is slowly shifting inland through the wind, but also because of the massive amounts of people walking on it. It’s basically a massive pile of sand that sits between a forest and the ocean.
Now, if you’ve ever been on a beach, you’ll know that walking on sand is hard. There, fortunately, are little plastic stairs to take you to the top of the Dune du Pilat, as otherwise, the hike up would have been very tough. Once you’ve managed to climb the dune, you are rewarded by the most fantastic view all around.
When my mum and I went to the Dune du Pilat, we were very fortunate to have fantastic weather. Sitting on top of the dune, watching the ocean on one side, and the forest on the other, with lots of people around us enjoying the sand, it was a really strange scene. Also, there were tons of dogs there. Given that, once we managed to slide down the dune again, my feet were a little more toasted, I worried about their toe beans.
A general note on getting back down: If you can, take the stairs. We followed this path down the side of the dune, which from above looked very nice and pleasant. It was anything but. We burned our feet and had to almost lie on the side of the dune, in order not to topple down into the pokey trees. The path was very narrow and probably not a good idea if you aren’t prepared to literally sprint down.
How to get to the Dune du Pilat & important info
Getting there is relatively easy when you are in Bordeaux. There are plenty of signs when taking the car as we did. Another option is to bike to the dune. There is plenty of bike path in the area from what I could see.
If you visit the Dune du Pilat in Summer, make sure you wear shoes that can withstand a little sand or are easy to take off. And for god’s sake bring twice as much water as you think you’ll need and coat yourself in sunscreen. Hat and sunglasses will also help in not getting roasted. Because the dune is so high and right by the ocean, you won’t necessarily notice that you are slowly being roasted alive.