June 19, 2004
The Pyla Dune is the highest coastal dune in Europe. It's 105 m (344 ft) in altitude at its highest point, 500 m (1,640 ft) in width and 2,700 m (8,865 ft) long. This impressive dune is located near the opening to the sea of the "Bassin d'Arcacon," which is situated about 60 km south-west from Bordeaux, France. The old dune has four continuous paleo-zones -- the lowest is the oldest, approximately 4,000 years old. Pyla dune was classified in 1978 as a national heritage monument.
On the top picture, a natural "sand stalagmite" is shown. The sand is partially shaped by rainwater percolating through the dune. Since the sand is coarse grained, water can escape quickly, leaving the sand in these strange shapes. On the lower photo, I'm standing at the shoreline and looking toward the Pyla Dune. The "boxed" area shows the location of the photo at top.