San Francisco has the Golden Gate, Dubai the artificial island Burj Al Arab and Millau has its bridge! Recognised the world over as a major the major French art work of the 21st Century, the Millau Bridge, in Aveyron, accumulates records. At its highest point 343 metres which makes it the highest bridge in the world beating the Eiffel Tower by 19 metres! – a spectacular table that is 2,460 metres long, 36,000 tons of steel and 206,000 tons of concrete.The cost of this mega project was 400 million Euros and an average of 500 people were employed for the three years of construction. This elegant suspended bridge, designed by the British Architect Sir Norman Foster, conceived by Michel Viriogeux and built by Eiffage gave access to the Massif Central and relieved congestion on the holiday roads.

The programme retraces the technological and human challenges to build this extraordinary structure. How the consultation between the architect the designer and the builder gave rise to this bridge with multiple suspensions having the look of a sailing yacht?

What were the problems encountered and solved for this huge project floating in the air above the river Tarn and the range Greater Causses?

Notwithstanding the initial reservations, how this enormous architectural project succeeded in placing Millau on the map for a major work of art? The programme relies on the eyewitness commentaries of the architect, designer the directors and associates of the builder as well as the Millavois.

It follows the great epic of the bridge with unseen archive footage, from the laying of the first brick in 2001 to the opening by President Jacques Chirac on 14th December 2004.

  • Airing time : Thursday 13th October 20.50h
  • Broadcasting channel : RMC Découverte
  • Producer: BBC Worldwide France
  • Format : 65 minutes
  • Director: Bruno Sevaistre


The participants:

Lord Norman Foster, Architect
Michel Virlogeux, Designer
Jean-François Roverato, Former Managing Director Eiffage
Jean Guénard, Former president Eiffage Public Works
Marc Legrand, Former Managing Director of the project for Eiffage
Marc Buonomo, Former Works Director, Eiffage Metal work
Vincent Principato, Crane operator
Jacques Godfrain, Former Deputy Mayor of Millau and minister of co-operation
Jean-Bernard Datry, Director SETEC TPI
Olivier Flamand, Pierre Chabauty, Director of filming for the building on site
Françoise Galès, Historian Millau

Photo: D.Jamme