The Must See Guide to Millau in Occitania

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There are so many beautiful places to visit in France, but Millau is one of the best lesser-known gems. It is a commune in the Aveyron département of the Occitanie region and it’s home to some brilliant things that you need to discover. After a short trip to Millau, we’ve put together this guide to the best things to see in the city itself and nearby. So, pack your bags for this once in a lifetime French adventure.

 

Get Lost in the Historical Centre of Millau

Millau is a large city with plenty to offer for even the most cosmopolitan of travellers, but the most romantic area in the whole city is certainly the historical centre.

Millau © Castanet - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

General view of Millau © Castanet – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

With churches and cathedrals aplenty, your eye is constantly being pulled this way and that by the next beautiful building.

Tiny arched alleyways that seem to be made for people far smaller than usual lead to miniature tucked-away squares, and you’ll find cute crêperies and bijoux bakeries around every corner.

Pont Vieux and the water-mill © Père Igor - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Pont Vieux and the water-mill © Père Igor – licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

You could spend a whole day very happily wandering around the streets here, having a little nibble of something every hour or so.

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting on a weekend then you’ll find these squares bustling with life as the farmers market rolls into town.

Church of Notre-Dame de l'Espinasse © Père Igo - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Church of Notre-Dame de l’Espinasse © Père Igo – licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Glistening fruit and vegetables, hand-foraged mushrooms, freshly baked bread and artisan cheeses are laid out haphazardly on overflowing market tables. It’s a real joy to spend a morning choosing some delicious produce to cook for dinner.

Wash-house of Ayrolle © Père Igor - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Wash-house of Ayrolle © Père Igor – licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons


The Monumental Millau Viaduct

The Millau viaduct is a feat of modern engineering © Simon Cole - licence [CC BY 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The Millau viaduct is a feat of modern engineering © Simon Cole – licence [CC BY 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

It would be impossible to write a guide to Millau without mentioning the incredible viaduct that spans the width of the Tarn gorge.

Designed by Sir Norman Foster, this breathtaking bridge was completed in 2004 and appears to almost float over the deep valley created by the river below.

The Millau Viaduct, although named after the town, is actually a little journey from the city itself.

Peyre and Millau Viaduct © Calips - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The Millau Viaduct from Peyre © Calips – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Take a walk around the mountains surrounding the Viaduct and you’ll be amazed at the number of cyclists you see peddling up the steep hills. This spot is renowned for being one of the most challenging sections of the Tour de France, so it is widely used as a practice area for both budding athletes and those who will actually be competing in the Tour.

This year, Tadej Pogačar took the win, which is pretty incredible for a cyclist just 23 years old. Unsurprisingly he is favourite with most bookmakers to win again this year, meaning that his odds are very short. If you’re looking for a good value bet on Pogačar then the best way is to find a bonus online. At the moment DraftKings sportsbook is offering free bets on cycling so you can at least find some value for Pogačar there.

Whilst you’re unlikely to see him practising on the slopes around Millau, as he hails from Slovenia, it would be quite something to cheer him home to victory here.

Millau Viaduct at dusk. Photo by Image-Source via Envato Elements

Millau Viaduct at dusk. Photo by Image-Source via Envato Elements


A Pretty Village Called Peyre

Perched precariously on a hillside just a ten-minute drive from the centre of Millau is a stunning village called Peyre.

Peyre Aveyron © Castanet - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

General view of Peyre © Castanet – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

This village is an official member of the group of the most beautiful villages in France and, from the moment you clap your eyes on it, it’s not hard to see why.

The houses are set back against the rock in steep terraces overlooking the Tarn gorge and now, of course, one of the most famous sites in the area, the Millau Viaduct.

Peyre and Millau Viaduct © Calips - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Peyre and Millau Viaduct © Calips – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Even if you’ve no interest in beautiful old buildings, the views of the viaduct from this village make the journey worth it on its own.

You’ll find a couple of bistros in Peyre that offer traditional French fare in a picture-postcard setting. Stop and have lunch, or at the very least a drink, before going to visit the magnificent troglodytic church.

Peyre © Daniel CULSAN - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The church of Peyre © Daniel CULSAN – licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

This building is incredibly ancient and built into the cliff face itself. Take a moment to appreciate the more modern stained glass windows and you’ll genuinely find your breath taken away by the beauty of this wonderfully conserved historical monument.

Peyre © Daniel CULSAN - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

In the village of Peyre © Daniel CULSAN – licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Peyre © Daniel CULSAN - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

A small house in the village of Peyre! © Daniel CULSAN – licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons


Find out more…

Practical information

For practical information about your visit to Millau, check out the Tourist Board website.

Where to stay?

For places where to stay, find out more about all types of accommodations available in the area here or browse the map below:



Booking.com

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Millau Viaduct Pinterest. Photo by Susanneaus via Twenty20


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