France is home to some amazing structures: L’Arc de Triumph, the palace at Versailles, Notre Dame cathedral. But for sheer jaw dropping engineering and architectural magnificence, you might like to have a look in the southern French commune of Millau. Before 2004, Millau was famous for its glove museum and a 13th century fortified gateway. That was until architect Norman Foster and structural engineer Michel Virlogeux decided to design a bridge to continue the A75 autoroute across the valley of the river Tarn.
With 7 Eieffel tower sized concrete pylons holding 40,000 tonnes of road for 2.5km, the Millau viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world standing at 343 metres at its highest point. Built over a period of 3 years, the bridge has itself become a popular tourist attraction, with an estimated 10,000 vehicles using it per day, rising to 25,000 at the height of summer.
The viaduct’s unprecedented hight makes it the perfect site for extreme sports enthusiasts. Since Felix Baumgartner base jumped from the unopened bridge in 2004, many others have followed.
Pics via Eric Young’s Blog