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France's Secret Plan To Conquer The World

MILLAU, France (AP) - Thundering fighter jets streamed the blue, white and red of the French tricolor as President Jacques Chirac on Tuesday dedicated the world's tallest bridge, a skyway span dwarfing the Eiffel Tower by more than 50 feet.

Chirac underscored the national pride stirred by the bridge by lifting a French flag from its ceremonial plaque, followed by air force jets trailing the colors of France.

"This exceptional opening will go down in industrial and technological history," Chirac said, praising the designers and builders for creating "a prodigy of art and architecture -- a new emblem of French civil engineering."

The bridge will serve as a symbol of "a modern and conquering France," he said.

My sneaking suspicion is that they may have just built the world's newest terrorist magnet (photo), but I'll hand it too them it's nice looking - for a bridge...


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Comments (31)

I watched a Discovery Chann... (Below threshold)

I watched a Discovery Channel special on this bridge. It is truly an engineering marvel. They used really cool computer controlled jacks to "walk" the bridge deck into place. Of course, this bridge will serve the purpose of invading hordes from the south. Once the proposed Gibraltar bridge is built, the terrorist will be able to drive to Paris.

If you can get me the origi... (Below threshold)
epador:

If you can get me the original text I can check the translation:

I'm thinking it might have been more like "a modern army conquering France" and or "a new embarrassment for French art and architecture."

Looks kinda like a bunch of... (Below threshold)
Frank:

Looks kinda like a bunch of white flags waving on the breeze.

Didn't the French also have... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Didn't the French also have a new "state of the art" outstanking design of a new Air Terminal building that opened and closed this year?

Just wondering

What Lee posted.Su... (Below threshold)
mshyde:

What Lee posted.

Suggestion: Run a dead pool for the date it collapses.
Kinda like the 'new' french air terminals

When I first read this a.m.... (Below threshold)
bains:

When I first read this a.m., the AP was listing it as a suspension bridge - clearly it is cable stayed. The other faux pas still appears... This engineering and construction marvel is on the A75/E11 which runs through the Massif Central – in Millau, it crosses the Tarn river valley - Its not the frickin Rhone. The Tarn drains into the Bay of Biscay (Atlantic); the Rhone drains into the Med. (A quasi-continental divide separates the two river basins.) It’s like saying the Brooklyn bridge dominates the Delaware river valley.

For intelligent, educated, and Euro-sensitive sophisticates, the AP sure can be dumb. Of course this is no surprise to your readers...

Hmm, confusing decorative a... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Hmm, confusing decorative arts with functional industry is a delicate balance. Successful confusion of the two begets the Great Pyramid at Cheops. Unsuccessful confusion gets a fabulously highly suspended spanse where a bridge would have been more functional, even more dramatic.

The point about this work that I continue to wonder about is why the height? Does not roadwork lay where ground exists? Broach the gap but why go into the sky to do it? It's a pretty, decorative thing in and of itself (or, can be, I realize for some) but as to function, the point here is missed (no pun intended), because, it appears that the point made was not to create a bridge, but to create a point. Equals, failure.

But it does exemplify the outrageous flamboyancy that the French and parts of the Netherlands and perhaps areas in the American East and West Coasts and Canada characterise: overdressing, the "am I not too beautiful?" flamboyance and excess that is the bane of industrial design, or, actually, most design applications.

Yep, the very first thing I... (Below threshold)
BigFire:

Yep, the very first thing I can think of is how big of a terrorist target this bridge is.

They way French president leave their legacy imprint upon the rest of the nation is by the monuments they build. Each president in the 5th Republic sought to out do their predecessors.

Perhaps the point by Chirac... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Perhaps the point by Chirac is that he says to the world, "surrender NOW!."

Um, no way, no, thanks but I hope your pretty construction survives.

I don't know how practical ... (Below threshold)

I don't know how practical it is, but it is impressive. And hopefully better engineered than recent French aircraft carriers and airline terminals. (It's some comfort to see that the architect is British.)

I can't bring myself to criticize them for building something big and cool. It doesn't seem right to stop creating nice things just because terrorists could conceivably come along and blow them up. But the French better have some damn good security all the same.

Nice bridge.... (Below threshold)
Patrick Chester:

Nice bridge.

Very nice bridge. An impres... (Below threshold)

Very nice bridge. An impressive feat of engineering and architecture.

Of course, it wasn't a Frenchman who designed it.

It was a Brit - Sir Norman Foster (who's other famous buildings include the Gherkin in London and he had proposed the Kissing Towers design for the WTC rebuilding in Lower Manhattan). He's one of the most innovative architects out there and this design is truly marvelous.

Just how this will help France conquer the world leaves me shaking my head. It's a bridge, not an aircraft carrier (though one hopes the bridge is better designed and constructed than those carriers the French have built). Just what are the French hoping to conquer? Their fear of heights? The French countryside? Or just the airspace immediately over French lands? Have they decided that the airspace is no longer the realm of the birds who have occupied French airspace for centuries and the French must take it back from them?

I wonder...

Yeah, nice bridge AND nice ... (Below threshold)
Steel Turman:

Yeah, nice bridge AND nice target.

Sure nice of them to extend... (Below threshold)
Allium:

Sure nice of them to extend the autobahn like that, should save on porche and henschel tread wear.

uh-Oh the SF BayArea WILL h... (Below threshold)

uh-Oh the SF BayArea WILL have a bad case of bridge envy. As you may know the new Oakland -SF bridge is also a cable stayed design with a single tower and 3 billion and rising over costs. Ahnold the Hun wants to cut it back to a simple causway much to the horror of SF's limonsine liberals.. .who never use (read pay for) the damn thing. They wouldn't be caught dead in Oakland (no pun intended).

This bridge is being billed... (Below threshold)
jd watson:

This bridge is being billed as the world's highest - 891 feet above the Tarn River valley. The article in Ireland On-Line Sky-high French bridge opened notes "Colorado’s Royal Gorge Bridge, towering 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River, is the world’s tallest suspension bridge – but it is designed for pedestrians." Having driven across the Royal Gorge Bridge, I can attest that it is not just for pedestrians.

It's beautiful, but I don't... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

It's beautiful, but I don't get the purpose. It spans a valley. Why not widen existing roads or build a new one ? There must be a good reason. Anyone ?

Come on people. The 'terror... (Below threshold)
Jeff Hartley:

Come on people. The 'terrorist target' thing is lame. We are about to replace the World Trade Center with something taller.

I just wonder hwo Chirac ge... (Below threshold)

I just wonder hwo Chirac gets off using the word "conquering"?

The bridge would have been ... (Below threshold)
Tom:

The bridge would have been completed in 1987 if the 35 hour work week was not in place.

Looks like a HUGE pileup wa... (Below threshold)
Pat Adkins:

Looks like a HUGE pileup waiting to happen. Driving through the clouds/fog can't be too much fun. But then, guess the French are pretty much used to limited vision.

I'm with Bryan C. - This is... (Below threshold)

I'm with Bryan C. - This is both impressive and cool, no point giving the French grief for it. But Chirac's "modern and conquering France" line is exactly the sort of thing the Euros would turn up their noses at if Bush the Hegemon said it. I guess someone is still smarting at being called "Old Europe" by a guy in his 70s.

UPDATE: Tragedy struck mome... (Below threshold)

UPDATE: Tragedy struck moments after the opening, and officials later conceded they had underestimated how attractive the "The World's Tallest Bridge" would be to people committing suicide

It's a bit hypocritical of ... (Below threshold)

It's a bit hypocritical of them I think. How dare they trump their own nationalism as more important than the EU or UN? They certainly don't approve when the United States excercises it's national pride. Shouldn't this triumph of civil engineering be shared with the EU?

The bridge looks like a much bigger copy of the new Zakim Bridge in Boston.

The bridge itself is impres... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

The bridge itself is impressive (and quite pretty, based on the pictures).

What is surprising is the extent of simplistic nationalism that Chirac used in describing the bridge. Surely, such an architectural marvel should be considered an achievement by human-kind, rather than merely the achievements of one nation??

Moreover, should this not be held up as an example of a "modern and conquering Europe"? After all, if it's a European, non-French architect, it's surprising that Chirac didn't take the opportunity to remind the audience of the glories of EU, no?

Well, since lawhawk pointed... (Below threshold)
CrowScape:

Well, since lawhawk pointed out that the bridge was designed by a Brit, I guess it does represent a "modern and conquering France." Remember the First Rule of French Warfare; "France's armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman." I guess the same goes for French engineering.

lmao @ Tom...Pat -... (Below threshold)
OneDrummer:

lmao @ Tom...

Pat - that's fog from the dignitaries not showering before the ceremony, so not only you can't see while driving, but it smells like driving thru Tacoma back in the 70's as well.....

It truly is a sight to see ... (Below threshold)
Oyabun:

It truly is a sight to see and will serve France's next conquoring horde nicely. One need only remember France's war record...
http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/text/victories.html
... to be in awe and fearful of their next move. I for one will be taking French lessons next semester in preperation for their eventual invasion.

\0/ I /\<br ... (Below threshold)
Oyabun:

\0/
I
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Hey look its a frenchman!

Has anybody bungee jumped o... (Below threshold)
Robert Bell:

Has anybody bungee jumped off it yet?

The French are so wonderful... (Below threshold)
Justin B:

The French are so wonderful. Upgrading their infrastructure for the next German invasion. This surely cuts the German Army's schedule from 6 weeks in WWII down to 2-3 weeks now.




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