MILLAU VIADUCT
Department: Aveyron (12)


ONE OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE CIVIL ENGINEERING FEATS OF OUR TIME


The Millau viaduct, a cable-stayed road-bridge designed by English architect Norman Foster with the celebrated French engineer, Michel Virlogeux, is a marvellous site to behold, and an even more impressive one to drive across. It carries the A75-A71 autoroute axis from Paris to Montpellier, and its 2.5km length is supported by seven slender concrete piers, the greatest standing higher than the Eiffel Tower, making this the tallest man-made structure in France. It is the 12th highest bridge in the world, at 270 metres (890 ft) high above the Tarn river.


© ATOUT FRANCE/Patrice Thébault

It is simply quite breathtaking, all the more so if you contrive to find your way out of Millau and head along the road to Peyre – another of Aveyron’s ‘Most Beautiful Villages’ – which will take you directly beneath the bridge, and on to the village.


© ATOUT FRANCE/Patrice Thébault


VISITING THE VIADUCT

Close by the viaduct is a splendid 'Aire de Service/Viewing point', specialising not only in information about the structure, but also in regional produce. The viewing point is accessible in both directions using slip roads from the A75. There is access to both the exhibition centre [open from 0900 to 1900, last entry is at 1830] and the viewing point, both on the eastern side of the motorway. The viewing point is approximately 30 minutes walk away uphill, but the climb is very steep in places.


© ATOUT FRANCE/Patrice Thébault


A FEW KEY NUMBERS

Height of the deck: 270m above the Tarn.

Height of the summit of the pylons: 343m.

Number of pillars: 7.

Height of the tallest pillar: 245m.

Total length: 2,460m.

Slope: Approximately 3%.

36,000 tonnes of steel framework.

205,000 tonnes of concrete.


© ATOUT FRANCE/R-Cast




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