4000 years of history

4000 years of history

Mainly known for its rare dimensions, the Pilat Dune is also famous for the beauty and diversity of its natural environment.
It is located at the entrance of the Arcachon Bay in La Teste de Buch municipality, in Gironde.

"Pilat" from the Gascon "Pilot" means "heap or stack". So when it comes to the dune it is P-I-L-A-T.

Current measurements :
- 2. 9 km long
- 616 m wide 
- 110 m high 

The Pilat Dune is a remarkable geological phenomenon and a true "natural archive". The Pilat Dune has recorded all wind events experienced by the Aquitaine coast. Cold, dry, and windy periods have led to sand accumulation and have alternated with warm and wet periods which have enabled vegetation to develop. The remains of vegetation correspond to paleosols which are visible from the beach to the top of the dune.
Despite numerous attempts in the past to stabilise it, the Pilat Dune is still moving and "rolls" on itself.  Its movement is facilitated by the scarcity of vegetation and will go on for as long as the wind carries sand.
It moves erratically from 1 to 5 meters a year towards the forest. 

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