To the south of Mimizan Plage, on the outskirts, there is a beautiful site with two signposted walking trails. This is the biological reserve of La Mailloueyre, a word derived from the original Occitan Malhoèira (place of seagulls). In this paradisiacal enclave, you will find three of the elements that characterise the Landes flora: pine trees, dunes and wetlands. But the route also has some surprises, such as an observatory from which to contemplate the fauna of the area or a viewpoint with information and beautiful views.
It is easy to get to this reserve, either by car (there is a car park) or by bike, although, of course, we recommend the latter, as this part of the Vélodyssée runs through some very beautiful landscapes, especially if you are coming from Contis.
The reserve - and the two signposted walks - starts right here, where there are also several picnic tables where you can rest and eat after the walk; at the entrance there is also a drinking fountain where you can fill up your bike's water bottles for the return journey.
Due to the type of paths we are going to follow, it is advisable to do these routes on foot, so, for those who have arrived there cycling, the most practical thing to do is to leave the bikes at the entrance, chained to any of the wooden fences that preside over the beginning of the biological reserve.
In the open area that appears as soon as you reach this point there is a map of the reserve, which also indicates the long route to follow. It is at this point that you will find the source of drinking water mentioned above.
Once inside, and before starting the tour as such, we can see a good number of pine trees with the bark removed from the lower part, some of which have a pot attached to the tree.
The resin is obtained, an activity that provided economic sustenance for many families in the Landes region for a long time and until the middle of the last century.
If you speak French, you can enjoy the demonstrations of this ancestral craft that take place here every week of the summer.
A little further on you will see an arrow with the words "Observatoire". This is a wooden building located on the bank of one of the ponds in this reserve. With pictures inside of the most common animals in this area, it has several openings for observing the fauna that swarm in this wetland.
In addition to numerous species of birds, there are also turtles, rodents... If you are as lucky as we were, you will be able to see families of some animals that looked like otters to us, although our knowledge of the fauna is more than limited, to be generous. In any case, we leave the images we obtained for you to decide for yourselves:
When we return to the path after visiting the observatory, a few hundred metres further on, we come to a new signposted junction: the one that leads to the Belvédère (viewpoint). Along a pretty boardwalk, we climb the ever-present Landes dune. It's only a few metres of ascent and you will hardly get tired.
On the other side, the area we came from, where the pond we have been looking at from the Observatory stands out.
In the distance we can also see some of the buildings of Mimizan. Of course, you will see it better if you have taken some binoculars...
Once at the viewpoint, it is interesting to read the information panels located around the perimeter.
They explain the geological formation of the dunes, the systems created by man to slow down the expansion of these sandy formations, and, in short, many interesting things about this French region.
Once again, all the information is exclusively in French, although Spanish-speakers will not have much difficulty in getting an idea of the explanations...
If, once there, you fancy a refreshing swim on the beach, there is a path that leads directly down to the sand. In extremely hot weather it is not advisable to stay long at this point, as there is no shade to protect us from the sun.
We therefore continue on our way, which is now on its last stretch.
Back to the start
We go back the way we came to the signpost we mentioned earlier and take the direction "Sentier de la Mailloueyre, retour parking".
Along a pretty path that runs along long straight lines through the trees, we can now take a closer look at the vegetation in this area.
You will see bushes full of bright yellow flowers. These small trees, whose name has already escaped our memory, are indigenous and, from what we have read, are not easy to find outside this region.
We will also come across a few upright poles on this final stretch of the path, which have small slanting holes embedded in them.
On each of them there is a plaque with the name and the drawing of a certain plant or tree.
If you put your eye close to the hole in the wood, you are supposed to see the plant, tree or flower indicated on the plaque. Of course, depending on the season you are in, you may or may not be able to see it clearly, as flowers, for example, do not remain all year round.
A few hundred metres further on, we reach the esplanade where the picnic tables are located. After this walk, it is the ideal place to rest in the shade, refresh yourself with the drinks you have brought with you (or with the water from the fountain, if you have not gone prepared) and, why not, to stock up with some food to replenish your strength.