The Gironde is very well known for its wine and culinary heritages, but also for its unmissable places! Its estuary, its ornithological park (in Teich) without forgetting, of course, the Cap Ferret and the Dune du Pilat which face each other. Visiting on foot is already exceptional, so imagine paragliding on the Dune du Pilat ? you will felle something like that 😉
From the top of the largest dune in Europe, you will take off to enjoy a unique landscape in the world. The Arguin bank, an unparalleled natural reserve, and the Dune, an immense expanse of sand, open up to you.
So if you are looking for information about paragliding at the Dune du Pilat, you have come to the right place. I give you all the information to find where to do your first paragliding experience, your training course, as well as the topo of the site. I also give you the best camping spots for your paragliding vacations at Dune du Pilat.
But by the way, before going further, do we say Pilat or Pyla? In real life we say Pilat, but for the good referencing of this article, I use the 2 denominations. I wouldn’t want you to miss this rich information ;). Briefly, the confusion comes from the town of Pyla sur Mer which is located on the north side of the dune…of Pilat. That’s all it took.
Where to do paragliding tandem flight at the Dune du Pilat ?
To make a paragliding tandem fight at the Dune du Pilat, many structures welcome you. They all employ state-qualified instructors to accompany you during your tandem flight. The instructors are trained for 2 years and have an outstanding experience, it goes without saying. You will definitely enjoy this experience!
Here is a table listing all the offers with the prices of each paragliding experience at the Dune du Pyla.
Prices of a paragliding experience at the Dune du Pilat
|Fly Pyla||From 55€ (10 min)||From 65€ (10 min)|
|Pyla Parapente||From 60€ (10 min)||From 70€ (10 min)|
|Dune Parapente||From 60€ (10 min)||From 70€ (10 min)|
|Parapente Arcachon||From 50€ (10 min)||From 60€ (10 min)|
|Waggaschool||From 55€ (10 min)||From 65€ (10 min)|
Which formula to choose for your first paragliding experience?
Paragliding at the Dune du Pilat is great, but which one should you choose among all the offers? Let’s review the different paragliding flights and their differences, it will help you to make your choice. There are 2 types of flight: the panoramic flight and the sensation flight. For each of these 2 choices, different prices are applied depending on the time in the air: 10 / 15 / 20 minutes. Let’s see in details.
Tandem flight at the dune du Pilat : Panoramic flight
As its name indicates, during this panoramic flight, you will walk along the dune and admire the landscape that is offered to you. Between the ocean, the forest, the Arguin bank, you will certainly take in the view! Depending on your desire and your budget, you can choose to stay in the air between 10 and 20 minutes.
Tandem flight at the dune du Pilat : Sensation flight
Watch out, ready to take off? Strong sensations guaranteed with the tandem sensation! Why else would you call it that? On the program, you will skim the ground and pass as close as possible to the dune. Then you will take height and do acrobatics with your pilot…with your consent of course! You have to have a good heart and not be car sick (it’s a little bit tricky when you are sensitive).
Where to do a paragliding course at the Dune du Pilat ?
The course is a must if you want to learn paragliding and continue to train well. The latter takes place in a paragliding school affiliated to the FFVL (French federation of free flight) with state-qualified instructors. There are several types of training courses, the most common of which is the initiation course (for beginners).
However, at the Dune du Pilat, you must be a practicing pilot to do a course. It is there that you will perfect your inflation techniques, manage the wing in the wind and learn the waggas (so coooooooool)! If you go to the Dune, you will definitely progress…and faster than you think.
The Dune du Pyla is the ideal place to take a step forward in your mastery of the kite and in your gestures in the wind!
To do a paragliding course at the Dune du Pilat, do not look for 107 years. There is only one school capable of giving you satisfaction on the spot: it is the school Waggaschool.
More than 15 years of experience to offer you 3 types of courses, for pilots already trained. Here is their offer.
Paragliding course at the Dune du Pilat : the advanced course
For Whom ?
For pilots who have already done an initiation course and therefore, who have already done inflation and flights.
Which learnings ?
Initiation to the inflation in front of the wing / Learn to manage your wing in the wind / Symmetrical phases / Understand & integrate the different steps
Paragliding course at the Dune du Pilat : the piloting course
For Whom ?
For pilots who have done at least one introductory course and who are comfortable with the face glider.
Which learnings ?
Refine your technique / Discover the window edge (static + dynamic) / Asymmetric phases
Paragliding course at the Dune du Pilat : the waggas course
For Whom ?
Pilots with an advanced level. You must already have good control of your wing on the ground
Paragliding courses / vacations at Dune du Pilat with other french schools
There are many schools, all over France, that offer to take you paragliding at the Dune du Pilat. You leave for a week of paragliding vacations. The school takes care of the following points :
- The shuttles on site
- Supervision by the instructors
- (possibility of shuttles from the school in certain cases).
It’s up to you to find the transportation to go to the dune, your lodging and to pay the expenses on the spot (barbecue, fresh beers, tomatoes and mozza, ;)).
Check with the schools near you. Here are some schools in France that offer these services (non-exhaustive list) :
- Libre-Envol based in Annecy
- Flyeo based in Annecy
- Alpwind based in Chamonix
- Salèveairlines based in Etrembières
- L’école de parapente des Baronnies based in Mévouillon
The choice is yours!
Paragliding at the Dune du Pilat : spot infos
What are the best conditions to fly at the Dune? What are the best timing to go there? Where are the takeoffs located? How to get there?
So many questions whose answers are scattered here and there on the net. Here you will find all the information about paragliding at the Dune du Pyla in one place! So follow the guide!
Information on the take-off at the Dune du Pilat
Helmet and throttle are mandatory!
Towards the right or the north, the big dune offers you space for your training near the ground, the slope is weak.
Towards the South, it goes up.
Rules of priority to be respected absolutely!
Do not fly above the ground when the wind speed is over 20 km/h.
Avoid trampling the oyats and bringing the sand down unnecessarily.
This site is under the responsibility of the pilots, please respect it.
Access and information of the takeoff of the dune du Pilat : Les Gaillouneys
Access : Go to the parking of the Petit Nice beach (Waze access : parking car camping car : La Teste de Buch). From the parking, on foot, follow the sign “Accès Plage”. The access to the take-off is either by the beach towards the north or by the forest.
Infos : Depending on the wind direction, the take-off is done in the West combe just before the blockhouses. If not, we take off in the North combe just after. Respect these take-offs to preserve the site from sand collapses and vegetation. Above all, do not take off before the chestnut fence flanking the dune halfway between the parking lot and the takeoff. This area belongs to the ONF and they give fines. During the summer period, the flight area to the south is strictly forbidden from the “bee” sign of the supervised beach. You can be fined for landing after the sign.
Access and information from the takeoff of the dune du Pilat : Robinson
Access : Go to the destination of Pyla Camping. Park the car and continue on foot along the campsite on your right, for 10 minutes. The take-off area is at the end of the road. Although it is on private land (like most of the dune) it is not reserved.
Paragliding regulations at the Dune du Pilat
The paragliding flight site of the Dune du Pyla is subject to regulations. I guess you can imagine that. The beauty of the landscape leads to over-visiting by tourists. And this makes the protection of the site, the responsibility of everyone!
You will find below a map allowing you to visualize where you have the right to move…or not. As well as the municipal by-law in force. I strongly advise you to take note of it under penalty of fine!
Flight zones to be respected at the Dune du Pilat (sorry it is in french)
Kind reminder of the rules of priority at the Dune du Pyla:
Find a campsite at the Dune du Pilat
We are not going to lie to ourselves, if you want to go on a paragliding vacation at the Dune du Pyla, the easiest solution is to stay at the campsite. Why do you ask me? Well, the answer is simple:
- They are right next to the Dune
- Some have direct access to the take off
- There are many other paragliders
- It is still good for the aperitif!
Here are in my opinion the best campsites for paragliding vacations at the Dune du Pyla.
Camping at the Dune du Pilat : le Pyla Camping
Having already been there, I inevitably suggest this campsite to you. Tested and approved by me 😉
It’s a three star campsite that offers good value for money and has direct access to Robinson take-off! When you are not paragliding, you can go to the pool, enjoy the city-stadium and have barbecues. The small mini-mart works well for extra shopping and bread.
Infos & booking on their website.
Camping at the Dune du Pilat : le camping du Petit Nice
To be as close as possible to the take-offs and therefore to the Dune (let’s admit that it’s tiring to walk with the paraglider on your back!), the other good solution is to go to the Petit Nice campsite.
Here we are on the higher range because we are on a four stars campsite at the dune of Pyla! This means more activities within the campsite and more playgrounds. This is a good plan if you go with your family, because your children will have a lot to do!
Infos & booking on their website.
Camping at the Dune du Pilat : le camping de la dune Les Flots Bleus
A little further north than Pyla Camping, the reputation of the Flots Bleus campsite is well established. If you want to follow in my footsteps, this is the place to go. Also, to reach the decos you will have to walk a little to arrive at the Robinson. There again you will find everything you need to have a good stay outside of the paragliding slots 😉
Infos & booking on their website
Camping at the Dune du Pilat : le camping Panorama
Camping Panorama is located near the Petit Nice campsite. From there you can also access directly to the Gaillouneys take-off! A 4 star campsite with a very good standing, the little extra here is that you can also book chalets and cottages, in addition to the usual pitches and lodges. What to leave in ALL comfort mode!
Infos & booking on their website
Van roadtrip to la Dune du Pilat
For those who wish to leave in van mode, without going through the campsites, be aware that it is quite complicated in the area…not impossible but complicated. You may be asked to move because it is not very well seen or even tolerated by the local authorities. The most famous spot is the beach of Petit Nice if you just spend the evening.
How to dress for paragliding at the Dune du Pilat?
For a paragliding jump at the Dune du Pilat, here is a small summary of the necessary equipment. I take as a reference the nice summer days, when temperatures are well over 20°. If the weather is not great, read my complete guide for more details.
The essential equipment for paragliding at the Dune du Pyla :
Nothing like a little checklist of essentials :
- A t-shirt
- A fleece or a windproof jacket : when paragliding, you can feel the wind when you go forward, which can make you a bit cold. And then a long sleeve jacket allows to avoid sunburns 😉
- Shorts or windproof pants, for the same reasons as above.
- Sneakers or sandals. As long as you have a sole under your feet it’s fine. The sand can be hot and the dune sometimes hides surprises in the sand (glass, rocks, scrap metal, etc.).