new : fortified churches, mostly in Les Landes
cathedral labyrinths and mazes in France
using metal in gothic cathedral construction
paying at the péage (toll station)
Germans in France
cathedral destruction during the French revolution, subsidiary page to Germans in France
on first arriving in France - driving
France is not England
Transbordeur bridges in France and the world 2: focus on Portugalete, Chicago,
Gustave Eiffel’s first work: the Eiffel passerelle, Bordeaux
a fifth bridge coming to Bordeaux: pont Chaban-Delmas, a new vertical lift bridge
France’s western isles: Ile de Ré
France’s western iles: Ile d’Oleron
Ile de France, Paris: in the context of Abelard and of French cathedrals
short biography of Pierre (Peter) Abelard
Marianne - a French national symbol, with French definitive stamps
la Belle Epoque
Grand Palais, Paris
Pic du Midi - observing stars clearly, A64
Carcassonne, A61: world heritage fortified city
Space City, Toulouse
the French umbrella & Aurillac
50 years old:
the Citroën 2CV:
a French motoring icon
the forest as seen by Francois Mauriac, and today
Les Landes, places and playtime
roundabout art of Les Landes
mardi gras! carnival in Basque country
country life in France: the poultry fair
what a hair cut! m & french pop/rock
Le Tour de France: cycling tactics
more bridges in France
the Viaduc de Millau, looking south
Inaugurated on the
14th December 2004, tallest in the world and taller than
the Eiffel Tower, slung across the valley of the river
Tarn, the Viaduct de Millau (Viaduc de Millau) is the
chosen solution for taking the A75
motorway from Clermont-Ferraud south to Beziers. This
is cheaper than the alternative of tunnelling through
the hills flanking the river, and will shorten the journey
by 100 km and by up to 4 hours in the holiday season,
as well as removing much traffic pollution caused by continual
traffic jams for local inhabitants in Millau. The Millau
Viaduct is currently the longest cable-stayed bridge in
the world. It has a steel deck, rather than the more usual
The bridge is now sometimes being used for
extreme sports such as base jumping or rapelling.
the road deck
pillar detail, from approach
to viewing point
detail of deck/pillar joint
detail of one end of the Viaduc
an optical illusion with the nearest pillars
shadow of the Viaduc on the Tarn valley
Millau and its region
This new bridge, opened on the 14th December 2004, replaces
the bridge crossing the River Tarn in the centre of the town of Millau.
Near the bridge is a permanent visitors’centre with stunning views
of the bridge and across the valley which it spans.
view of the Tarn valley, with the town of Millau,
from the north end of the Viaduct de Millau [the Viaduct is behind viewer]
Millau has a population of slightly more than 22,000 people,
and has recently recruited two extra staff at the Tourist Office to help
with queries about their new landmark. Millau used to be the centre of
leather manufacture in France. Millau continues to be an shopping centre
for leather goods, including gloves. You can, for instance, visit the
l'Atelier gantier, 21 rue Droite (not far from the Tourist
Office) and buy a pair of locally designed, hand-made and hand-sewn ladies’
leather or suede gloves for about 45 euro and upwards, in one of umpteen
colours. Some of the designs are ultra-chic and even extraordinary.
As well as sections on gallo-roman history
and geology, the
Millau Museum has a section on leather-making and
the craft of glove-making. The link above gives their
address and information on opening times and guided visits.
The viewing point for the Viaduc de Millac,
together with the visitors’s centre, is now accessible
in both directions using slip roads from the A75.
Aire for the viaduc de Millau. Image:
here, there is access to both the exhibition centre [open
from 9am to 7pm, last entry is at 6.30pm] 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, and is unmetalled.
There are some benches on the way with good views over
the valley towards Millau. This viewing point has now
been ‘formalised’ with a low concrete surround.
Nouveau : un billet souvenir de 0 euro au Viaduc de Millau !
Le samedi 11 avril à 11h, tous les billetophiles et passionnés du Viaduc de Millau sont attendus dans le hall d'accueil du batiment de l'Aire du Viaduc de Millau pour le lancement officiel du billet de banque de 0 euro à l'effigie de l'ouvrage. A cette occasion, les amateurs auront l'opportunité d'acquérir ce véritable billet de banque insolite, infalsifiable, numéroté et millésimé 2015. Vendu seulement 2 euros, il s'agit d'un produit unique, peu onéreux mais de grande technicité, puisqu'il a les mêmes caractéristiques qu'un billet de banque, mais sans valeur faciale, et suscite déjà un énorme phénomène de collection. Ceux qui n'auront pas pu se déplacer pourront bénéficier d'une vente par correspondance dès le lundi 13 avril auprès de la société Viaduc Exclusive Diffusion (tél. 05 65 59 72 61).
- 17 December 2004 : Opening of bridge to traffic
(15 December 2004 : Inauguration)
- 22,650,000 vehicles have used the Viaduct de Millau
in its first five years of service.
- 10 October 2001 : Construction work started
- 343 m : Height at top of pylons
- 280 m / 919 ft: Height of roadway over the Tarn
- 2,460 m / 1.55 miles: Total length of roadway
- 8 spans resting on 7 piers
- span widths: 204 m between abutments and first
and last piers
- 342 m spans between remaining piers
- 2230 tonnes : Weight of each of the 16 sections of
road-deck. Each section is built up from 60 tonne deck-units,
each 4 m wide by 17 m long. The deck-units are built
in Eiffel’s factories at Lauterbourg and Fos-sur-Mer.
- Heights of the 7 piers :
P1 : 94.50 m
P2 : 244.96 m
P3 : 221.05 m
P4 : 144.21 m
P5 : 136.42 m
P6 : 111.94 m
P7 : 77.56 m
- 97 m : Height of the 7 pylons
each pylon is in the form of an inverted Y. The height
of the legs of each Y is 38m.
- 154 : Number of stays supporting the road-deck from
- 36,000 tonnes : Total weight of roadbed’s steel
(5 times that of the Eiffel tower)
- 19,000 tonnes : Steel used for reinforcing the concrete
- 5,000 tonnes : Steel used for the stays and cables
- Type of deck : steel orthotropic (orthogonally anisotropic)
- 4.20 m : Thickness of steel road-deck
- 32.05 m : Width of road-deck
- 205,000 tonnes : Concrete
- 85,000 m3 : Total volume of concrete
- 3% (approximately) : Slope (for safety, to enable
- 9,000 tonnes : Road tarmac - specially flexible bitumen
laid to 6 cm thickness
- 4,000 tonnes : Standard bitumen for the emergency
strips on either side
- 520 workers
- 300 million euro : Cost. The cost has finished at
half the anticipated estimate.
(plus 20 million euro for the toll station 6 km from
the bridge’s North end).
- 120 years : Predicted lifespan
- Architect: Norman
Foster, in collaboration with French bridge engineer
- Constructor: Eiffage
Group. Their website has a number of short web films
on the bridge as construction progresses and an animation
of the bridge in use. (Note: commentaries in French.)
- Paris-Clermont-Ferrand-Béziers : The Viaduc
de Millau will complete this north-south motorway through
the heart of France, crossing the Massif Central.
- Tolls - again, the tolls increase
on 1st February 2013, up by 4%
The rest of the 340 km A75 autoroute is free.
The toll barrier has been increased to 18 gates. In
winter, about 4,500 vehicles pass in a day; in summer,
it’s about 50,000.
Many local commuters are no longer taking the Millau
Viaduct route because of the expense.
- Constructed for the A75
motorway (autoroute) - the Méridienne. The
weblink provided is to the English version of the motorway
company’s “complete file”, which details
the original planning for the route taken and for the
final choice of bridge structure (includes maps, photos
image credit: A75.com
image credit: structurae.de
: A French astronomy site, giving recent photographs
of the Viaduct de Millau taken from a distance, and
of two nearby aires
under construction. As astronomers, the website owners
are concerned about potential light pollution. [Site
Baluarte Bridge, Mexico cross-section.
Inaugurated by Mexico’s President Calderón
on 5 January 2012, this bridge now eclipses the Millau
Viaduct as the cable spanned bridge with world’s
highest road deck. The main span has a clearance of 402
metres below it, in comparison with the 280 metres of
the Viaduc de Millau.
The Baluarte Bridge is much shorter than the Viaduc
de Millau, only spanning 1,124 m (3,688 ft) in total, with
the cable-stayed section being 520 m (1,710 ft) long.
Costing MXN2bn (£93m), the project construction
was carried out by a consortium consisting of Tradeco,
Idinsa and Corey and VSL México.
The Baluarte Bridge is expected to be completed by the
end of January 2012, and to open at the end of that year.
It is located on the Durango-Mazatlan highway, between
the municipalities of Concordia in Sinaloa and Pueblo
Nuevo in Durango.