Les Sables du Cul du Chien – Noisy-sur-École, France - Atlas Obscura
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Noisy-sur-École, France

Les Sables du Cul du Chien

An unusual sand beach in the middle of a forest. 

Despite its name—which unfortunately translates to “the sands of the dog’s ass”—this waterless beach is a lovely, peaceful spot on the outskirts of the Forest of Fontainebleau. Lush pine and birch trees surround the patch of soft, milky sand.

The sand is said to be some of the finest sand in the world. On a sunny day, it’s pretty common to spot Parisians basking in the warmth, picnicking, or lounging atop the sand just as they would at a normal beach.

Though you can find sand throughout the forest, this is the only spot that feels like a beach. It’s said this particular stretch of sand was formed during World War II, after Nazis set a huge chunk of the forest ablaze. The sand beach is slowly shrinking as the trees reclaim more and more of the scarred landscape.

The forest’s unusual landscape is the result of perfectly normal geological evolution. Millions of years ago, a warm ocean covered this particular patch of earth. Quartz settled on the ocean floor and eventually became the fine sand that still blankets the ground today.

Know Before You Go

Reaching the sand requires about a 15-minute walk from the road.