When people think of world-renowned beaches, France typically does not come to mind. Hawaii or Bora Bora perhaps — but France? Actually Britain’s newspaper, The Guardian, recently gave The Dune du Pyla Beach in France second place in their list of the 50 top beaches in the world. So it is probably fair to say that any beach lovers intending to visit Europe soon would be well-advised to put this beach on their “must-visit” list.
Where To Find
The Dune du Pyla Beach is found in the southwestern corner of France about a half hour’s drive from Arcachon Bay and about an hour’s drive from Bordeaux. The beach resides on the Atlantic Ocean, almost directly across inland Lake Cazaux. The dunes themselves are the highest in all of Europe, coming in at over 328 feet high or approximately 100 meters. To reach the top of the dunes means panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the shoreline beaches, along with inland pine forests.
Things To Do
Of course the best time to visit the dunes is during the summer months when temperatures are warm, although it might be possible to catch a perfect day in May or September to visit as well. Climbing to the top of the dunes is not for the faint of heart. Those wishing to make the climb need plenty of water, patience and a fair amount of athletic ability. And don’t forget your camera! Those who make it to the top will receive their reward in incredible ocean views, but even those who only make it part of the way up can still reap some fantastic views to capture on camera.
Hiking and surfing are popular pastimes in this region as well as exploring the Iles aux Oiseaux in nearby Arcachon Bay. Visitors can also explore the local Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park or go for a boat trip on Arcachon Bay. The nearest community to explore is La Teste-de-Buch, which abuts Arcachon Bay.
Probably one of the best ways to take advantage of everything the dunes have to offer is to bring the whole family and camp at PylaCamping Grounds. Located just minutes away from the dunes, Pyla Camping offers a variety of sleeping arrangements including furnished lodge tents, private mobile homes and pitches for tents, caravans and camper vans. The camp ground also hosts a variety of activities including horseback riding, bike rentals for exploring the surrounding area, sports tournaments, children’s games and karaoke evenings. In addition, they offer heated swimming pools for both adults and children.
For those wishing for more of a more traditional stay, the Hotel Etche Ona is just a half mile away from Dune du Pyla Beach. They offer a continental breakfast every morning and free Wi-Fi. Guest rooms come with either a bath or a shower. The hotel boasts two bars, along with regional food specialties and grilled fish menu items (in the summertime).
The Hotel Le B D’Arcachon is also available directly across from Arcachon Bay. A casino is next door, along with a multitude of restaurants and cafes within walking distance. They also serve a breakfast buffet every morning. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi access, private bathrooms and a TV in every guest room. The Arcachon Golf Course is just 12 minutes from the hotel.
For those wishing to make a simple day trip to the region, the best place to find eating establishments in is nearby La Teste-de-Buch. La Mise en Bouche rates very high as well as La Cabane de Laurinette. For more information on these great eating establishments in the area and other restaurants, click here.
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