My main fear about setting off for this tourist destination was “can I take Bella, the dog?”. I couldn’t find any information on the web that told me whether dogs were allowed or not. So we set off anyway. Bella had to come with us, as it would be an all day trip.
Getting to the Dune du Pilat takes about a couple of hours from where we are. It is a straight route apart from navigating the Bordeaux ring road.
On getting closer we were slightly confused by the use of two differently spelt names for the dune.
So Dune du Pilat or Dune du Pyla? In official/historical documents the spelling is Pilat. For example the official document “Mise en place du suivi de l’évolution récente de la Grande Dune du Pilat”, (Implementation of monitoring the recent developments of the Great Dune of Pilat), (Décembre 2010).
Pilat comes from the Gascon word Pilhar, which means a heap or mound.
The term of Pyla appears to come from the proximity of the seaside resort of Pyla sur Mer, which was founded in 1920 and is to the north of the dune. So the Dune has also come to be called Dune du Pyla.
Good news, as we headed out of the car park and towards the Dune there was a sign. Dogs on leads are allowed on the Dune.
According to Wikipedia, the dune has a volume of around 60,000,000 m³, and is approximately 500 m wide by 2.7 km in length. It’s height is around 110 metres above sea level and it has more than one million visitors per year.
Bella enjoyed the climb up the Dune and having settled ourselves down for a sunbath on the beach to the other side of it, we were disappointed to be told that we couldn’t be there with the dog. Shame, long walk back up. But despite this I would recomend this destintation as a great day out.