Travel to Auvergne

Day 1 Barcelona - Millau Viaduct - Garabit Viaduct - Saint-Nectaire - Picherande (657 Km.)

(in 399 Km.) As in the previous year, we left early to avoid the hotest hours and to avoid the traffic delays. Our first objective is the Aire du Viaduc de Millau. We left home at 6 am and after one hour driving the kids start to sleep again and don't wake up until a few minutes before we arriving to the bridge. The Millau viaduct area is very busy. There are a couple of viewpoints from which you can photograph the bridge. One of the viewpoints is located near the parking and the other is reached walking about 10 minutes by the path that climbs the hill located at the left of the area.

Millau viaduct

Millau viaduct (Viaduc de Millau)

(in 119 Km.) After a long stop over the hour and a half between breakfast held in the picnic area and the visit to the two viewpoints, we continue along the A75 towards the Garabit Viaduct. We leave the highway to view the bridge from the riverside of the Truyère. The Garabit Viaduct is a railway arch bridge built entirely in wrought iron between 1882 and 1884 by Gustave Eiffel. The metallic structure is divided into seven segments that are crowned in a principal arch of 165 meters (541 ft) span, with a line 120 meters (400 ft) over the Truyère river (When was built was declared as the highest bridge in the World).

Garabit Viaduct

Garabit Viaduct (Viaduc de Garabit)

The viaduct is 565 meters (1,854 ft) in length and weighed approximately 3,300 tons. The overall project cost of the Garabit viaduct was 3,100,000 francs, one of the more expensive works of his kind. One year later Eiffel used his experience in building this bridge for the construction of Maria Pia bridge over the Douro River in Porto, which is quite similar to this viaduct. The Garabit viaduct appears in the film "The Cassandra Crossing", which refers to the viaduct as Kaslindrliv Bridge.

Garabit Viaduct

Garabit Viaduct (Viaduc de Garabit)

(in 106 Km.) We stop to buy in Issoire, in a Carrefour to stock up for the week and to fill the gas tank in these center that is much cheaper than on the highway. After that, we drive until Saint-Nectaire where we can find megalithic remains as dolmens and menhirs (besides its famous church we visited last year). We take the road up to the church and a few meters we turn to the right to visit the Parc du Dolmen. It was in 1890 when the Parc du Dolmen was arranged by M. Giraudon. The promenade is nice and shaded, but the most spectacular is Auvergne megalithic known as "Dolmen du Parc ou Palet de Samson" that was the first of Puy de Dôme in being classified as a historic monument since 1875. There is also a small children´s play area and an area for picnic.

Saint-Nectaire - Parc du Dolmen

Dolmen de Saint-Nectaire-le-Bas

(in 33 Km.) Picherande: We arrive to this village where we have rent a gîte (country house) where we spent the whole week and will be the starting point of all our excursions.