The Great Dune of Pyla is slowly swallowing up any road, wall or home in its path

When you think Bordeaux, you probably think wine. And you’d be right to do so, of course, but the coastal French area is more than just a delicious face. It’s also home to the Great Dune of Pyla, the tallest sand dune in Europe (yes, that’s a thing). It’s technically located about 40 miles from Bordeaux, near the Arcachon Bay, but still pulls about one million tourists from the wine region a year. 1gdrg The dune, also known as the Great Dune of Pilat, is 550 yards wide, almost two miles long and rises to around 350 feet above sea level. This hasn’t always been the case, however; the dune is in a constant state of flux, slowing moving itself further inland. 2hdfgh In fact, the dune has swallowed up over 20 houses, buried roads and portions of the Atlantic Wall. For example, in 1928, a wealthy Bordeaux family built a villa near the southeast part of the dune. Less than 10 years later, the house was completely buried by the encroaching sand. The dune is also slowly encroaching on the neighboring Les Landes pine forest, which was planted in the 18th and 19th centuries to prevent erosion (oops).3jjg Its movement can’t be predicted. Sometimes, it will move as fast as 32 feet in a single year and other times less than four feet. Regardless, over the course of the past 57 years, the dune has moved a total of almost 1,000 feet (yikes!). The reason for the quickly shifting sands is the westerly maritime winds that come in off the ocean

4jyhjg Scientists believe it has doubled in size in the last 100 years. They also believe that its a cyclical process that dates back for centuries due to a coal-like substance found on the shore which hints to the remains of a forest floor.8yuytnn If you’re visiting and feeling particularly spry, you can climb the dune itself, though it requires a heady mix of stamina and ability to ignore sand in your shoes. For the less adventurous souls, there’s a steep staircase that climbs to the top of the dune. Additionally, it’s a popular place for kite flying, paragliders and other adventurers looking to have some fun in the sand.Parascending on the Dune du Pyla at La Teste-de-Buch in the Arcachon Bay area of Landes de Gascogne, France And once you arrive to the top – no matter which way you get there – the stunning views are more than enough of a reward. From there, you can see the Les Landes pine forest, the Pyrenees mountain range and the ocean coast.  [sources: Amusing Planet, Daily Mail, Atlas Obscura]7jgyn

These portraits of global citizens are a compassionate reminder that we’re all human

In light of recent events, it feels particularly poignant to be reminded of our shared humanism, no matter our race, gender, age or ethnicity. Mattia Passarini’s haunting beautiful photographs serve as the prompting we need to get back to our compassionate roots.mattia-passarini19-900x1349 It’s obvious Passerini took great care to depict her subjects with grace, thought and care. Likewise, the vulnerable, honest expressions each wear on their face show just how much they trust their photographer. She captures lifetimes and moments at once— joy, pain, mirth, sorrow are all there in their truest forms. And that’s saying nothing of the incredible dress, jewelry and beauty trends that her subjects proudly wear, symbols of their culture and heritage. [h/t]mattia-passarini18-900x1347 mattia-passarini20-900x1347 mattia-passarini21-900x1349 mattia-passarini22-900x1300 mattia-passarini23-900x601 mattia-passarini24-900x611 mattia-passarini27-900x1347 mattia-passarini28-900x1349 mattia-passarini31-900x607

These rooftop photographs of Shanghai will leave you gripping the rail

Vertigo sufferers need not apply to Oliver Shou’s dizzying skyscraper photographs. The Shanghai based, San Francisco born photographer has made it his mission to capture the urban beauty of his city from above, flitting from rooftop to rooftop, capturing the city streets and neighboring skyscrapers with an unsettlingly sharp perspective.1-55 Indeed, it’s perspective that makes Shou’s photographs so incredible. Whether he’s dangling his Adidas-clad feet off a ledge or a friend sits scarily close to the edge of a building to look down on the streets below, Shou pays close attention to the composition of his shots. Dizzying heights call for vernitgous feelings and when triangulated buildings seem to speed past you in a single still photograph, you know that Shou has done his job as a photographer and done it well. [h/t] 2-53 3-53 6-47 22-14 23-13 28-2 29-2 30-2 31-2

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