If you suffer from vertigo or if you’re scared of heights, you might want to avoid the massive bridge near Millau and take the road underneath it, as I did, instead. From the road below, you can see the eight pylons clearly: they fork open about half way up to allow the wind to pass through. If they did not, the bridge, apparently, would collapse. These pylons are the tallest in both France and the world (in 2008 at least). It should therefore come as no surprise that the road bridge they support is the tallest in the world.
Travelling under the bridge means that you can stop at the information centre. We stopped there at around lunchtime — with a picnic which we planned to enjoy under the cool shade of a tree. However, a French security guard is employed to walk around the ‘grounds’ (a car park) and point out the sign that says no picnics are allowed. In addition, the centre has no tourist display area: you have to pay for a guided tour of the small building.
We jumped back into the car and drove about ten seconds away to the pylon on the other side of the road. We parked in the shade provided by the bridge above, grabbed the picnic rug from the boot of the car, and cooled down with a great view of the bridge right across the valley while we ate. If the weather hadn’t been so hot, I probably would have walked over to the security guard to thank him for making our visit more enjoyable (and free).
Instead, we took the obligatory ‘pretend you’re holding up the bridge with your hand’ photo before driving on.