Montpellier Toulouse & Pyrenees by Lonely Planet

Montpellier Toulouse & Pyrenees by Lonely Planet

Author:Lonely Planet
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Lonely Planet


Parc Naturel Régional des Grands Causses OfficeTOURIST INFORMATION

(%05 65 61 35 50;; 71 bd de l’Ayrolle, Millau; h9am-noon & 2-5pm Mon-Fri)



France has its share of iconic structures – Mont St-Michel, the Eiffel Tower, the Château de Versailles – but in centuries to come, the majestic Viaduc de Millau (; Jul & Aug €9.10, Sep-Jun €7.30) might well stand alongside them in terms of architectural importance.

This gravity-defying toll bridge hovers 343m above the Tarn valley, making it one of the world’s highest road bridges. Designed by the British architect Sir Norman Foster, it’s a work of imagination as much as engineering: seven slender pylons support 2.5km of the A75 motorway, and despite its heavyweight construction (127,000 cu metres of concrete, 19,000 tonnes of steel, 5000 tonnes of cable), the bridge still somehow manages to look as delicate as a gossamer thread.

While most people speed across the bridge, it’s worth taking the time to explore a little more closely. The Viaduc Espace (%05 65 61 61 54; h10am-7pm Apr-Oct, to 5pm Nov-Mar), at ground level beneath the viaduct on the D992, explores the story of the bridge’s construction and offers 45-minute guided visits (in English on request; per adult/child €6/3.50) around its exhibition garden under the bridge.

For a great way to appreciate the bridge’s astonishing dimensions, Bateliers du Viaduc (%05 65 60 17 91;; Creissels; adult €24, children €9.50-16.50; hevery 45min from 9.45am year-round) runs 1½-hour boat trips along the Tarn from the nearby village of Creissels.


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