French President Jacques Chirac has inaugurated a new bridge, hailed as the tallest in the world.
The bridge, celebrated as a work of art and an object of French national pride, is 343 meters high, making it taller than the Eiffel Tower. The elegant viaduct supported by seven pillars stretches nearly two-and-a-half kilometers, making it longer than the Champs Elysees.
When the bridge opens Thursday, motorists will travel 270 meters above the picturesque Tarn valley in southern France.
British designer Norman Foster has described his creation as looking "impossibly delicate."
The bridge, built to blend in with the countryside, took nearly three years to construct at a cost of more than half-a-billion dollars. It will provide a link between Paris and the Spanish border, easing one of the country's most notorious bottlenecks.