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The Dune du Pyla is the largest dune in Europe – a vast white lunar landscape of windswept sand, 100m high, 12km south of Arcachon. The adventurous shouldn’t miss the long, hair-raising slide down to the sea, over slopes as steep as an Olympic ski-jump. Bus #1 leaves from the gare SNCF in Arcachon every hour in July and August – two to five a day in other months. If you’re driving, note that the car park requires payment.

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