So on Saturday we packed our bags and left the gite in Serandon. As, per my previous post, we had experienced a super storm during Friday night, the weather was calm but misty / drizzly.
We wound our way down into the gorge and the first thing we noticed was all the debris, from the trees, strewn across the roads. And, as we climbed up the other side there were several areas where rock shale and mud had been washed down of the sides of the gorge, onto the road. Also, a number of trees were down but still being supported by electric cables. We eyed these with great suspicion as we maneuvered past them. Concerned that they would choose the moment of our passing as the time to drop completely.
As we wended our way towards Millau, the weather turned decidedly worse, until we were driving in torrential rain. Especially as we climbed up and down the various hills and gorges. As we travelled on the weather improved until, as we approached Millau, we were being treated to blue skies and sunshine.
The scenery in this region is fantastic and the more we saw the more we vowed that perhaps this would be the next region in France that we would target for our next long holiday.
Soon the reason for our trek to Millau popped into view.
The following is taken from the Aveyron Official Tourist Website
Millau viaduct holds the world record for the tallest bridge, culminating at 343 metres (higher than the Eiffel tower), 2460 metres long and touching the bottom of the Tarn valley in only 9 places.
Conceived by the French engineer Michel Virlogeux and designed by the English architect Lord Norman Foster, it fits perfectly into the naturally intact and grandiose landscape: a very thin slightly curved steel roadway supported by stays gives it the appearance of a huge yacht and the ensemble rests on 7 very slender pillars.
The bridge is spectacular and can be seen from many miles out. We took a few pictures, then headed for our hotel in Millau.
We were staying at the Hotel Mercure and were soon installed in our room. ow lucky were we with the room allocated to us. Take a look at the view from our hotel room ….
After a little freshen up we headed out to explore and grab a bite to eat. All the eateries near the hotel were only serving drinks. Once again our pursuit of lunch had commenced after the proscribed hours. Pushing out, further afield and we discovered a brasserie, Le Mandarous, who were more than willing to take my Euros in exchange for food and drink. The brasserie was situated adjacent to a roundabout so we were able watch both human and automotive antics while we ate a rather tasty meal.
I’m afraid I’m getting rather boring with regard to my choices. If it is on offer, I will almost always go for the “assiette de charcuterie”, an assortment of cooked meats which can including ham, garlic sausage, salami and, depending on the region, perhaps some cheese. Back in the Correze it was common to have Chèvres, Cantal or Salers. In Tulle there was Bleu d’Auvergne but on this occasion, in Millau, I was treated to a couple of pieces of a rather nice Roquefort. This was a real melt in the mouth treat.
After our meal we continued wandering the streets, sorry I mean exploring….
We both decided we liked Millau and felt that it would be a place we should visit again. With its quaint cobbled streets and narrow alleyways it has a really nice feel.
As we meandered into another square, Place Marechel Foch, we decided to take advantage of the shade provided by the trees and sat down for a cold beer from the nearby brasserie. We became aware of a wedding group gathering outside a nearby church.
Apart from the bride, page boys and bridesmaids there were numerous cars that had been decorated in perhaps, by UK standards, an unusual way. We liked it. Something else the French do is have the entire wedding group clamber into their cars and drive around the town honking their horns. Making everyone aware of the wedding and, I guess, involving everyone in their celebrations. There were several weddings on this Saturday afternoon in Millau and we had observed this tradition a couple of times around Serandon and Neuvic.Of course the Simca Rally Car did not need to sound his horn to make people aware as the engine noise was fairly noticeable.
Suitably refreshed we meandered our way back to the hotel for a brief nap before getting changed and heading out for our evening meal.
On the whole a good day.