Since the Millau Bridge was opened in December 2004, the town itself has become a tourist attraction among those who want to see the iconic bridge. There is more to see than just the bridge. The town is dotted with cafés and restaurants to choose from and some great bistros to grab a hearty meal.
The rest of southern France with its sweeping landscapes, fortresses and attractions will leave you wanting to travel even more. Don’t forget to drop in at one of the vineyards in the Languedoc region to understand why French wine is known the world over.
Millau Bridge – ‘a miracle of equilibrium’
The Millau Bridge (Viaduct de Millau) is the world’s tallest bridge. Located in southern France, this is a must-see attraction. A true engineering wonder, the Millau Bridge runs over the Tarn Valley. Can you imagine driving along this mammoth bridge at 270 metres above the river – wow! Designed by architect Lord Norman Foster, the bridge cost £272 million to build. A cable-stayed bridge, one of the masts on this giant structure measures 343 meters above the base of the bridge.
The aim of building the bridge was to shorten the travelling time to southern France and alleviate road traffic during summer holidays. At 2,460 meters long the bridge is design prowess at its best. On a cloudy day the bridge almost seems to float on the clouds. Former French President Jacques Chirac called the bridge ‘a miracle of equilibrium’.
To see the bridge you can travel across it, but you should only do this as part of your journey. Another way to see the bridge is to take a bus from the Tourist Information Office in town. Stopping on the Millau Bridge is prohibited.
Things to do
- Tarn Gorge: This gorge is one of the deepest and longest gorges in Europe. Enjoy picturesque views and travel along the road where Tour de France cyclists rode in 2015 as you make your way through the gorge. While you travel along the winding roads, stop in at the small town of Roquefort and taste their world-famous blue cheese. Whether you are driving, cycling or canoeing this beautiful gorge, check out the birdlife. See if you can spot the vultures circle through the air. If you are in need of an adrenalin rush, hit the rapids of the Tarn River for some river rafting. The best time to visit Tarn Gorge is from March to November. The roads can become congested over holiday season.
- Château de Peyrelade: This is a magnificent 12th fortress almost clinging to the rocks of the Tarn Gorge. Its location was important and allowed troops to control the Tarn Valley during the Middle Ages. Visitors can tour the Château de Peyrelade and climb the rocks to get a superb view of the gorge.
- La Couvertoirade: Approximately 30 minutes from Millau is the enchanting village of La Couvertoirade. The 15th century houses will take you back in history and for those shopaholics, the village is filled with shops and boutiques. Walk around the village and discover and old windmill and then listen for the church bells that ring. The village is just like a miniature medieval city and is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. The village was almost completely rebuilt and restored in the 15th The battlement is accessible to the public and offers far-stretching views. There is also an old Roman church with stained glass windows. Cast your imagine back in time to wonder what it was like to live here as you tour the village. Notice the towers leaping from the rocks as you make your way to the village. Be sure to stop here on your way to the Millau Bridge.
- Palais de Papes (Pope’s Palace): Situated in Avignon, this impressive palace overlooks the town. Some 20 rooms of the palace are open to the public. Take a look at St John’s and St Martin’s Chapels where 14th century frescoes await you. Central Avignon is surrounded by medieval walls, so as you walk down the old streets, get an idea of life in the Middle Ages and 17th and 18th
- Montpellier-le-Vieux: A great option for a day out in the open, this nature park is filled with rock formations and various hiking trails to view stunning scenery. The drive on your way to the nature park offers brilliant views of Millau as well as the Millau Bridge. The oddly shaped dolomite rocks of the park extend over 120 hectares. Walking the trails is pretty easy, but wear comfortable shoes. For those who are not so keen on walking, there is a train that takes you around.
- Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: This quaint town is perfect for sightseeing. Head to the Glanum Archaeological Site where you will see ancient Roman ruins from as early as the 1st Remains of temples, a basilica and houses can be seen. Free guided tours will enthral you as you walk among the ruins. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to get acquainted with local cuisine and to get a feel of life in southern France.
- L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue: If you collect antiques, then you have come to the right part of the world. Originally a fishing village, the town of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has become one of the prime locations for antique collectors who sought after their newest collectable. The town hosts a flea market every Sunday. During the year 2 major aw
- Cycle along Canal du Midi: A great attraction for the entire family, a cycle along the Canal du Midi is an awesome way to spend time with family. There is also the longer option of cycling the canal over a few days. The Canal du Midi was originally built as a shorter means of travel between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Cyclists have 240 kilometres along the canal to take in the history, culture and countryside. There are a number of routes to choose from for your cycle tour. On your expedition you will visit historic sites, medieval cities and taste some of the region’s great superb wines. This is a brilliant way to experience France.