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  France 2007 - Around the Millau Viaduct

 

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 Around the Millau Viaduct - an engineering marvel

  
  View from N9 southeast of Millau
                                                           View from N9 southeast of Millau

This amazing feat of structural engineering spans the Tarn valley west of the town of Millau and totally dominates its surroundings. Designed by French bridge engineer Michel Virlogeux and architects Foster and  Partners and opened in December 2004 it has seven elegant pillars and is 2460 metres long, the longest span being 342 metres.

We didn't actually drive over the viaduct which is part of the A75 autoroute (toll) but approached it from the southwest stopping at a layby on the D992 for photos then calling in to the information centre underneath the span which opens at 10am and is free. One of the best views (seen in photo above) is from the large layby on the northern side of the N9 a few miles to the southeast of Millau, which involves a long climb and is still used by plenty of lorries. Double back after a few miles to reach the layby rather than cutting across the traffic. There is another excellent viewpoint from Brunas but the minor roads have weight restrictions so are unsuitable for motorhomes although there may be alternative routes.


View from D992 layby


View from visitor centre


closeup views  


closeup views
After the photo-stop on a gloriously sunny day we drove back to Millau and took a turn left just after crossing the river on the minor D41 road to Peyre, a delightful "Plus Beaux Village" set against the cliffs. Making a very sharp right turn after driving through the village we climbed up a steep road to a large level carpark (overnight parking is allowed and there is a water tap but no waste services). From there a waymarked walk leads down to the village centre with good views of the viaduct and the River Tarn


View from Peyre village near carpark
View from Peyre village near carpark

Peyre - one of the Plus Beaux villages of France
 Peyre - one of the Plus Beaux villages of France

         flowerpot models
                      flowerpot models at Peyre
Peyre back lane
Peyre back lane

interesting parking place in a cave
interesting parking place in a cave
The village has many narrow pedestrianised lanes with interesting and amusing sights such as miniature stone houses and flowerpot model people among the colourful flowers. There was an interesting restored church with a shady parking place beneath it!

  stone model buildings at Peyre
          stone model buildings at Peyre

Last view of the viaduct from Peyre
Last view of the viaduct from Peyre
With a last view of the viaduct we drove alongside the Tarn then headed north west through more wooded hills to the Lac de Paraloup and the Aveyron region
<< Languedoc to the Causses     

From Tarn to Lot  >>


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