Sunday, 29 August 2010
Biggest sand dune in Europe
For the first time since we arrived in France we have had a weekend to ourselves with no pressing work to be done and no guests!
What could we do with our time?.... It was Megan's last weekend with us before going back to the UK for school, so we decided a day at the beach was in order. Where should we go? So many beaches to choose from and all about 2 hours in the car.
Unfortunately, after such a hot week, the forecast was not brilliant (typical) but being brits we were used to having to take wet weather gear to the beach! Nick, my husband gets ants in his pants if he has to sit for too long so we decided to split our day in two... half a day doing something different and then a few hours on the beach so the kids could play in the sand!
After contemplating which direction to go from Auvillar, we decided we would try West and set off towards Bordeaux, I had read about a giant sand dune just South of Bordeaux near a town called Arcachon and programmed the destination in to the satnav and set off.
After two hours in the car with everyone, I was ready to get out! Why is it that a day trip (which should be fun) always ends up with multiple rows over silly things!..... anyway differences a side, we arrived at the Dune du Pilat.
OMG big is an understatement............... I thought i'd just driven to the Sahara! At 120m high and 3km long, it is the biggest sand dune in Europe and is truly amazing. After standing at the bottom for 10 minutes to take it in, Abigail decided she wanted to climb it without using the steps provided, I had to follow!! I think we only managed about 60m and had to give in and make our way over to the stairs, not that I am a wimp, but in the heat (approx 28 degrees) it was more than a stroll and even the steps were hard slog!
On reaching the top despite being sand blasted, the view that greated us was incredible. We then ran down the steep slope and rewarded ourselves with an ice cream!
Biscarosse beach is just a few km further south, and although the beach was long and amazing the town itself was heartless and just another modern holiday resort. We had only been on the beach for about 45 minutes and the lifeguards called everyone out of the sea using their loud hailers to say a storm was on its way. Within 10 minutes the beach was deserted and we arrived back at the car looking rather bedraggled! Taking the scenic route home we travelled through the Landes forest and rejoined the familiar countryside of the Gers with its rolling hills and fruit production, which was much more interesting. After stopping briefly in Condom and Astaffort, which are beautiful, we arrived home.
The car was emptied of bags and our own mini sand dunes and after grabbing a quick snack all took to our beds early!