Five things you don't know about the Landes forest

Published on 22/01/2024

Our 5-star Lou Pignada campsite is located in the heart of the Forêt des Landes. Behind its apparent monotony lies a reality that's far more surprising than you might imagine. Here are 5 little-known facts about our beautiful Landes forest.

1. It's an artificial forest (and a very young one!)

Contrary to appearances, there's nothing natural about the Landes forest, which was created from scratch by Napoleon III in 1857. So it's a very young forest, just over 160 years old! The massive planting of maritime pines helped to fix the dunes and drain the marshes, turning them into arable land. Maritime pine accounts for 92% of the wooded area.

2. Europe's largest cultivated forest

With a surface area of one million hectares, the Landes de Gascogne forest is the largest cultivated forest in Western Europe. It stretches across three départements: Gironde, Landes and Lot-et-Garonne. In the Landes département, pine forests cover 60% of the land area, or 632,300 hectares. This makes it the second most wooded département in mainland France, behind the Var.

3. Home to a little Amazon jungle

In the heart of this forest, a surprise awaits visitors: the Courant d'Huchet Nature Reserve! Nicknamed the "little Amazon of the Landes", this reserve is home to lush vegetation and several exotic species such as the Bald Cypress, the Royal Osmonde and the Chinese Pink Hibiscus. Made popular in the early 20th century by the Italian writer Gabriele d'Annunzio, this little tropical jungle in the heart of the Landes region can be explored on foot or by boat. Escape guaranteed! To find out more: Hiking in the Courant d'Huchet nature reserve : the secret and wild Landes.

4. You can find works of art here

The Landes forest is not only a sanctuary for wildlife, it's also an open-air art gallery. During your stay in the Landes, come and discover the Forest of Contemporary Art, an artistic itinerary dotted with monumental works, sculptures and installations by artists scattered throughout the Landes de Gascogne Nature Park.

Also read: What to do in the Landes forest: our favourite visits and activities!

5. Nearly 90% of the Landes forest is privately owned

Unlike other major French massifs, the Landes forest is almost exclusively privately owned. More than 90% of the forest belongs to private individuals, matrimonial communities or joint ownership. Three quarters of these green plots are used for timber, which is then transformed into paper, furniture or building materials. The Landes forest provides 25% of the wood used in France!

Sleeping in the Landes forest, an experience for all the family!

With family or friends, you can book unusual accommodation in the Landes forest! Choose from a perched lodge tent or a stilt cabin! In the heart of the forest, awaken your inner adventurer and treat yourself to a stay or weekend under the canopy. To be sure of having accommodation available, remember to book early enough for the summer period!

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