Arcachon and La Grande Dune du Pyla

Earlier this year, my lovely French neighbour Cyber Placebo introduced me to the talented and friendly owners and residents  of the Arcachon islands.  For nearly three hours, I drank in the sights, sounds, culture and fun of this fascinating place, and, thanks to my guide, discovered some of its hidden jokes!  There is just SO much to see there .. the ‘mairie’, (what a wonderful picture of Monsieur Sarkozy!), the exhibition area (currently showing a very clever bande dessinée called ‘La ptite’ Soph’ by Janis Allen), the vegetable garden (where you can help to do the watering … just touch the tap to sprinkle!),  the campsite (with its little ‘in-jokes’ for those who follow French camping films!) the chapel dedicated to rugby (relocated from another part of France .. its really does exist … Helen saw it on French TV!), the jetty and lots more.  You can travel around in a variety of vehicles;  I rode pillion on a scooter waiting for you by the square (tip: beware the slight bump and delay as you cross the second bridge from one sim to another!) but my favourite was a lovely boat ride with Cathychou Boa and DevLink Garside which took us to the Dune. I have since returned by motorbike (I was unceremoniously separated from the scooter when picked up by a speed camera) and I walked up the dune to enjoy the view and the mediatation opportunity before taking the hanglider.  A happy accident (i.e. diving by mistake) meant that I also discovered the beautiful seabed, with its colourful plants and seahorses.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that this experience inspired Helen to visit these places in her ‘real life’ last week.  She was totally amazed by the height of the dune (117 metres – the biggest in Europe) and totally exhausted after a childish run down to the Atlantic followed by a long slog up again! She chickened out of the chance to paraglide, but may do it next time! (But next time, she’ll make sure she’s combed her hair and is wearing something trendy for the benefit of the camera!!)

I will definitely be returning to Arcachon to enjoy speaking French and to further exploration.. and I know that Helen is hoping to return there by train from her conference in Bordeaux at the start of September so that she can explore Arcachon itself in more depth.  (And its shops!).  Thanks again to the residents who made my visit so enjoyable … as well as those mentioned above, Bernard Halcali, Eve Kazan, and Tupper Weir (the best name I have ever seen in SL!!)  A plus!

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