Idea #681- Climbing the dune of Pilat in Arcachon bay
Located at the southern entrance to the Arcachon Basin, the Dune du Pilat stretches for 616 meters from West to East and 2.9 kilometers from North to South. It represents about 550 million cubic meters of sand, in the locality of Pyla-sur-Mer.
The formation of the dune is entirely linked to that of the Banc d’Arguin, accumulated over the centuries by the sea currents. The strong westerly winds from the open sea break up grains of sand at the time of the low tide, when it is completely uncovered, and which, flying, come to rest on the dune to form this gigantic mass of fine sand.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, during the massive deposit of sand on the coast, the modern dunes buried, under fifty to sixty meters of sand, the old parabolic dunes, forming the great “dune of the Grave”. In a phenomenon of permanent growth, the dune of the Grave reaches 115 meters high around 1910 and takes the name dune of Pilat. At the same time, the vegetation covering the windward slope of the Grave dune is gradually buried, allowing the winnowing and the transport of the sand towards the top of the dune.
The notoriety of the highest dune in Europe has only grown in recent decades. Nearly two million visitors climb it each year, making it one of the most visited natural sites in France with the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel.
Where is it ?
Dune du Pilat, Bassin d’Arcachon, France