Friday, March 9, 2012

Millau Bridge--Tallest in the World

{Millau Viaduct facing South}
When there's a big gorge that causes traffic from Spain to Paris to crawl through a small village, what do you do?
You build a bridge, that's what. And you know how the French love to build a bridge.

The Millau bridge is a work of stunning engineering, daunting in scale and height, stretching across the Tarn river valley and saving the village of Millau from all that traffic from Paris to Montpellier and beyond to Spain.
At its highest point this cable-stayed bridge reaches to 1125 feet high from the base. It's said to be a reflection of the structural beauty of the Eiffel Tower in the south of France.

{view from the top}

On site work began on 14 December 2001 and the finished bridge opened to its first traffic almost exactly three years later on 16 December 2004.

There is a rest-stop and visitors center where you can stop and learn about the construction of the bridge as well buy and learn about local products. There's a small restaurant open in high season and the ubiquitous French drinks machine dispensing chocolat chaud, coffee and soup.

{kids, chocolat chaud and a big bug at the visitors center}

You can follow a walking path up to the side of the bridge for a closer look.

{on the way to the lookout}

We took a picnic and stopped off at one of the tables to have lunch after the short hike and incredibly vertigo inducing view. 

{looks like they're on the edge doesn't it?}

P-Daddy and I started off on the wrong foot and were irritable with each other as we drove over the first time but by the time we'd hiked and oohed and picnicked and swung back around to pay the 6 euro toll for a second time, we'd found our way back around to each other too.
Picnics and bridges can do that for you.

{turning my back on a make up photo, harumph!}

They close the bridge for footraces, unusual for a non-pedestrian bridge of such scale, each year.
This year's race is on 12 May and is 23.7 kilometers, roughly a half-marathon by my estimation. Registration is open and by internet only if you're interested. It would be magnificent to 'run between sky and land'. Any takers?


  1. I love the Millau bridge although it was a pain while it and the motorway were being built. My ex-h's parents live in St Flour so we were always going up and down.

    I remember enjoying a fantastic brasserie meal in Millau after one visit, the one on the main square.

  2. My favorite view is from underneath - it feels even bigger from that perspective!

  3. I'm terrified just looking at the pictures! I get very nervous driving over bridges or high offramps; I would have a very hard time if I lived near this bridge.

  4. I might know someone who could be interested in running it! will tell Le Fin. x

  5. We drove on it a couple of years ago. Truly breathtaking. Cool place to take your kids on a field trip! Glad you and P-Daddy patched things up at the end of the day ;-) Bon weekend, Aidan. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  6. I think the first out and back would be fun, then I'd have to put the earbuds in! Also: only fun if it wasn't windy! But yes, the view would be spectacular x x

  7. I watched pictures of this bridge as it was being built. It is sooo beautiful, but I'm so afraid of heights that I'd probably freak out when traveling over it. I know I'd like to take the old road and see the view from below.

  8. Just reading this post is making me anxious. After discovering my bridge fear a few weekends ago, I'm pretty sure this one would throw me into a panic attack! But, call me crazy, that race looks awesome. I kind of want to do it although I'll probably need a bridge escort :-)Bon week-end and thanks again for my wonderful new cookbook!

  9. Great pictures. We have driven over the bridge several times but have never done so at a time I could get good pictures. Either the sun was wrong or it was very foggy. It is definitely an impressive sight and fete of engineering and construction.

  10. What fab pictures! I love this bridge. Every time we go over, we stop to go and look from the view point. It is so beautifully French - though, actually, I believe it was designed by a Briton (but hush! Don't say that too loudly!)

  11. We took the girls there a year or so ago. But my Mister didn't want to pay the toll so we drove under. The few was still impressive.

  12. That is incredibly breathtaking! I need to add it to my bucket list. Beautiful pictures Aidan. Have a great weekend!

  13. I am so jealous that you've been here. I am dying to go and have been ever since it was built. I just never seem to get over there. I must do the trek one day. It's always there in the back of my mind to do it.

  14. What a gorgeous bridge and fun adventure! And the race sounds spectacular. I doubt I'll be able to do it this year but maybe next and will keep in mind. Very cool.

  15. Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com


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