A stunning valley spanned by an impressive iron viaduct
More than 130 years after its construction, Garabit Viaduct continues to inspire universal admiration. Below, at its base, flows the River Truyère that has formed a magnificent valley with so much to discover.
Garabit Viaduct and the Gorges of the River Truyère are inextricably linked for Gustave Eiffel’s masterpiece would never have existed if the river had not dug out such deep and impressive gorges. In the 1870s, an extension of the railway line further south was envisaged that would connect Paris with Béziers. The project was made possible thanks to the ingenuity of Léon Boyer and Gustave Eiffel who designed and went on to build Garabit Viaduct that spanned across the river banks. After four years of work, the majestic viaduct was unveiled; a masterpiece of civil engineering measuring 564 metres long and 122 metres high. The viaduct has been classified as a listed historic monument since October 2017. Today, the viaduct is facing a new challenge. At the end of 2017, a joint application with four other grand-scale metal arch bridges in Germany, Portugal and Italy was submitted to authorities for their nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- 15thMarch to 31st May: Lit up from sunset to 10 pm every night
- 1stJune to 31st August: Lit up from sunset to 1 am every night
- 14thJuly to 15th August: Lit up from sunset to dawn every night
- 1stSeptember to 11th November: Lit up from sunset to 10 pm every night
- 12thNovember to 14th March: Lit up from 6.30 pm to 9 pm only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (every night during the Christmas holidays).
- Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve: Lit up all night
Attractions and activities for visitors to the Gorges of the River Truyère
The construction of the dams of Sarrans, Lanau and Grandval has resulted in man-made lakes and leisure and sports facilities for visitors and water sports enthusiasts to enjoy. The setting is beautiful and everything is on hand to try out a whole range of different water sports.
- A wide choice of water sports activitiesis on offer on Garabit-Grandval lake and Lanau lake: canoeing, pedal boats, sailing, rowing, stand-up paddle, jet-skiing, water-skiing, boat and pontoon rental, etc.
- Swimming with professional lifeguard cover at Mallet beach (plage de Mallet)
- First and second category fishingand particularly the catching of carnivorous fishes
- Boat excursionsaboard the restaurant pleasure boat leaving from Garabit port
Top panoramic views
- From the road bridge crossing the River Truyère on the D909 road
- If you would like to get closer to the viaduct, drive along the D13 road from the road bridge heading towards Ruynes-en-Margeride.
- At the motorway service point (A75 – “Aire de Garabit”), a few kilometres south of Saint-Flour heading towards Montpellier.
Visits and exhibitions
- An exhibition entitled “The Giant of the Truyère” (open from June to September) at Pierre Allègre’s Farm that is part of the Margueride Ecomuseum in Loubaresse.
- A permanent exhibition at “Maison du Cantal” visitor centre (open every day and throughout the year) at the motorway service point, Aire de Garabit, between Saint-Flour and Ruynes-en-Margeride.
- Guided tours of the Margeride Ecomuseum during the summer season.
- Special visits and excursions for groups can be organized on request. Please contact the Tourist Information Office in Saint-Flour for further information.
Other things to enjoy
- Drive along the Gorges of the Truyère tourist driving itinerary circuitand stop off at Chassan Castle, the Mallet cirque and viewing spot and Alleuze Castle.
- Cross the viaduct by train and feel the thrill of this unique journey. Departure from Saint-Chély d’Apcher (Lozère) and arrival in Saint-Flour. Spend an hour visiting the low-town and then head back to Saint-Chely.
- Dine out at the Hotel-Restaurant “Le Beau Site” with its breath-taking view over the viaduct.
- Soak up the relaxed atmosphere on a cool summer evening out at the “Escale” restaurant in Garabit.
- Head out hiking on the “circuit de Chaliers” walking trail: a full day’s hike taking in a visit of the Margeride Ecomuseum and the picturesque village of Chaliers.