If you drove to the south of France in the 1990s, you probably spent hours stuck in traffic in the centre of Millau. After years of discussion, a new route was proposed that bypassed the town and would require the construction of the new 'Millau Viaduc.'
Enter Sir Norman Foster & Dr Michel Virlogeux, the architect & structural engineer tasked with designing & constructing what would become the tallest bridge in the world. In 2017 the bridge carried over 5 million vehicles for the first time since it opened in 2004.
Construction started: 16 October 2001
Opened: 16 December 2004
Material: Concrete, steel
Location: Millau, Aveyron
Worth knowing: There is a service area at the northern end of the bridge with a visitor centre.
We couldn't create a list of our favourite bridges in France without including at least one in Paris. The 2 spans of Le Pont Neuf (one on each side of the Île de la Cité) are the oldest to cross the Seine in Paris.
The name literally means the 'new bridge', which it was at the time of construction; it has remained whilst all the older bridges have been replaced.
Constructed: 1578 to 1607
Worth knowing: In 1985, modern artist 'Christo' wrapped the bridge in more than 40,000m2 of fabric.
Spanning the Hérault River, the Gignac bridge was designated a national monument in 1950.
Described as the 'the most beautiful bridge of the 18th century, traffic over the bridge has been much reduced since the opening of the new Languedoc Bridge on the A750, a couple of hundred meters downstream.
Construction of the bridge was delayed due to the French Revolution before completion in 1810.
Constructed: 1776 to 1810
Material: Dressed limestone
Location: Gignac, Hérault
Worth knowing: The Michelin Green Guide describes it as "The finest 18C bridge in France because of its daring design and the beauty of its architectural lines"
The 3rd most visited attraction in France (after the Eiffel Tower & Mont St Michel), this Roman aqueduct consists of 3 tiers crossing the Gardon River. Originally built to carry water along the 50km long Nîmes aqueduct.
Until UNESCO listed the bridge as a world heritage site in 1985, you could still drive across the lower tier.
Rob is the General Manager at Alan Rogers Travel Group, he is responsible for the ongoing development of the Alan Rogers website and publication of the Alan Rogers Guides.
He has been involved in the leisure industry since completing a BTEC in Travel & Tourism in 1993. Previous roles have included the promotion of tourism in Yorkshire and running a motorcycle touring company in the Australian Outback.
During Napoleon lll's rule in the mid to late 1800s, France colonised several overseas territories, and with Britain restoring ownership of some territories to France, Napoleon doubled the size of his empire.
There are some impressive places on the list in France, as you can well imagine, such as Chatres Cathedral, the Palace of Versailles and the fortified city of Carcassone. So why not plan your next trip across the Channel to visit some of these sites, they’ve been given this status for a reason, so you know you’re in for a treat!