Friday, 28 August 2009

Millau Bridge...le Viaduc de Millau

I have often driven rapidly over the Millau Bridge, either excitedly heading back to Sue and the boys (its only 90 minutes from home) or charging north towards a ferry and England.
In July I traveled with the boys for a UK 'holiday'. We stopped at Millau to have ice cream and check out the bridge.

Designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster and conceived by French engineer Michel Virlogeux.
Cost: 400 million euros.
Where:Links the A75 Clermont Ferrand to Beziers motorway above the river Tarn valley in the South of France very close to the fantastic cheese village of Roquefort.
Record?: Highest bridge in the World at 343 metres above the valley floor.
The construction:

14th December 2001....first stone laid by JC Gayssot, Minister of Transport.
28th May 2004....the two parts of the deck from either side are joined together.
14th December 2004...Inauguration by Presdient Chirac.
16th December 2004...First traffic
Interestingly there are only 7 steel pylons that connect the bridge to the valley floor.
The bridge is 2460 metres long.
There are 36000 tons of metal framework, 205,000 tons of concrete.

It is a stunning construction and well worth stopping off to have an ice cream and browse around the visitor centre.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Minervois hills

This is a wild view from our house. The little building tucked in the garrigue is the Chapel of Sainte Leocadie. The pine trees, small scrubby oaks, thyme, rosemary, olives and sage all add the character and heart of this stunning wild corner of the Minervois.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009 wine is good for you

This is a good a relevant article from Decanter magazine.
I have previously written about the healthy values of a couple of glasses of red wine. It seems that there is more as a preventative medication as well as a simple anti oxidant.
I would love to see wine prescribed by doctors. I know that French hospitals certainly serve wine at meal times.