The Millau Viaduct spans the Tarn River in the Aveyron region of France is an impressive piece of architecture. It is the tallest brdge in the world, one of the mast’s reaching for the sky to a height of 343 metres, slightly taller than the Eiffel Tower. The cable stayed road bridge is now popular with BASE jumpers who hurl themselves from its tarmac platform.
Designed by the British architect Norman Foster in collaboration with the French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux to ease the problem of traffic travelling from Paris to Spain bypassing the nearby city of Millau. Quite an amazing feat of engineering, the road deck was constructed on land then rolled out from one tower to the next, seven temporary towers were used for additional support. Opening on the 16th December, 2004 after just 3 years after construction began and costing an eyewatering 400 million euros, it was awarded an ABSE Outstanding Structure Award in 2006.
The impressive viaduct dominates the landscape of the Tarn Gorge and has become an attraction in itw own right. There is a visitor centre which provides details of the construction process, history, motives and more general information about the environment of the gorge. There are also several viewpoints which provide great views of the viaduct and the gorge.
Apart from attracting BASE jumpers the gorge also attracts plenty of other adventure seekers, many of which camping along the Tarn River just outside Millau. Hikers, climbers, kayakers are just a selection that cannot resist the steep sided walls or powerful waters of the Tarn. There are several via-ferrata routes, in fact the raptor image was taken from one of these, parapentinging and microlighting are two of the more exciting activities available.
There are numerous picturesque villages sprinkled around the Aveyron countryside and driving along the generally quiet roads is a popular way of experiencing them. French châteaus with lovely rivers flowing through the grounds, often with medieval stone bridges dotted along their length. There is even a village called Peyre with a troglodyte church and taking a boat ride along the Tarn River is one of the best ways to see this village.