Sixty kilometres from Bordeaux, the sand seems almost to touch the sky. The Great Dune of Pilat (alternatively known as the Dune of Pyla, after the closest town) is the tallest sand dune in Europe.
Measuring 107 metres high, 500 metres wide and 3 kilometres long, it really is a sight not to be missed!
From the top of the Great Dune of Pilat you can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire Arcachon basin. Let the salty winds buffet you and tousle your hair as you admire the Arguin sandbank, the great blue Atlantic on one side and the deep green pine forest on the other. Above your head will soar flocks of hang-gliders. You will surely be tempted to stay a little longer, admiring the view from this enchanting natural phenomenon.
In the middle of the pines, the Cap Ferret lighthouse dominates the Atlantic Ocean and the Arcachon basin. Built in 1840, the lighthouse was destroyed by German troops in 1944. Reconstruction work was started in 1949.
Originally measuring 51m, the new lighthouse is 53 meters high and you have to climb 258 stairs to reach the top.
The top floor which is painted red stands out brightly against the sky which is so often blue inAquitaine.
The lighthouse has been fully automated since 1995.
Exhibitions and educational activities are organised around the lighthouse.
Arcachon beach extends over 800 m along a waterfront promenade facing the Atlantic Ocean. Located very close to the Arcachon city centre, this beach has been very popular since the 19th century.
Swimming, sunbathing, sand castle contests, beach volleyball players and passionate idylls are the features of this finely sanded beach with its scattering of small blue and white cabins.
Depending on tides, the surface area of theîle aux Oiseaux changes from five kilometres to 16 kilometres in circumference. As its name suggests, Bird Island in the Arcachon basin is home to numerous species of birds whatever the season.
While humans have never really lived on theisland, they learned how to exploit its natural resources very early on. The terrain is perfect for grazing, foraging, hunting and fishing and these days all activities on theisland are regulated. The silhouettes of the cabanes tchanquées, or cabins on stilts, are a symbol of theisland for many people.
The bell tower of Mimizan is a remnant of a former priory church which is no longer standing. The site is a Unesco World Heritage Site, part of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela. The complex was rediscovered only recently and has undergone a careful restoration.