Thursday, July 4, 2013

Dune du Pyla...A beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Dune Du Pyla

Happy July 4th to all my American friends & readers.  July 4th is not a holiday in France - their Independence day is celebrated on July 14 - Bastille Day.  Since July 4th is also about getting together with family & friends - I thought I would share about last Sunday - when we spent the afternoon with our American friends, who unfortunately for us are headed back to the States at the end of July.  

Last Sunday was beautiful - I think if was one of the first hot, sunny beautiful days we have seen in a while.  We made a spontaneous decision to head out to the Dune du Pyla.  The Dune is considered one of the tallest sand dunes of Europe and each time I have been there - it doesn't disappoint. (Read an early blog about the dune - here )

Sunday was no different - it was magnificent!  It actually wasn't until we started heading up the dune that I realized that my 5 and half year old had never been there before.  Yes, I had been to the dune many times and the older girls also a few times - but I figured out that the last couple of times we had gone as a family - out to the area - either we didn't climb the dune or she wasn't with us...anyway - I have to say - she was thrilled and overwhelmed!  So overwhelmed that when she stared up the stairs, she looked up at my husband and asked if he could carry her.  (Which he loving did!)

As you can tell from the first 2 photos - one has a choice of the stairs up or the side of the dune.  My husband & the husband of my friend opted for the dune - while the rest of us headed up the stairs - Although I have to say - no matter which way's a hike!

At the top, everyone took a breath and of course pictures!  Above is my oldest daughter and her best "American" friend here.  They don't attend the same school, but they do get together a few times a month - their American connection was an instant bond!  It's been nice to have another American family to share frustrations & experiences with and as we are all living it together ...we understand each other.

At the top, it's also great to just sit, rest and take in the view!  Here's my middle daughter and her best "American" friend - the son from the other family. 

Previous times when we have climbed the dune, we have gone up and walked along the top - taking in the view and the majesty of the whole place.  This time, the kids wanted to be different, they wanted to go to the beach at the foot of the dune. ...why not?  So down we headed....

Amazingly, it's a pretty long way down to the front of the seems to keep going and going.  Then, right near the bottom, the sand drops off pretty steeply before the beach.  All sand, all fun and thank goodness it was not too hot that day!
Voila - the beach at the dune - you can see we were not the only ones with this idea.  It was a Sunday afternoon and a beautiful day!  A little tip here is that one can access this beach one of 2 ways, either from above, like we did or from the Northern side parking lot near the water.
Another interesting feature to this beach which we discovered was old German bunkers built into the side of the dune.  
There is just lots of sand!  My oldest's favorite quote - a humongous sand pile!!

The kids had lots of fun beach time - the sand is soft & fine.  My oldest decided to turn my youngest into a mermaid!
Little Miss Mermaid!

The group hanging out on the beach!
There were sail boat races going on in the Bassin or bay - fun to watch!
As we relaxed our way through the afternoon with lots of water and sand fun, the clock ticked away - and unfortunately, time came to head back up and over the dune.  In our case, what came down, must go back up....My youngest this time decided she could do it herself...but it wasn't always easy.

The initial slope up was pretty steep ....

Then it just seemed to go on forever....
If your legs get tired, one can always crawl I guess...
But once you make it up the front slope, the reward is the back down the other side...This was the fun and easy part!  
Of course, the true reward at the bottom....Ice Cream!!  There are some cute shops and restaurants at the bottom of the back side and after that climb - it tasted wonderful!

So we may not be having the typical July 4th celebration here in France today - (Actually, my 2 younger girls are finishing up their final 2 days of school!).  But I feel like we celebrated this past weekend & I hope with the weather finally improving that we can have more beach, sun & fun days together with friends.  

I hope everyone who is celebrating the 4th of July has a wonderful day!!

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