MILLAU, subprefecture of the Aveyron département and second town after Rodez in the old province of Rouergue, occupies a beautiful site in a bend of the River Tarn at its junction with the Dourbie. It's enclosed on all sides by impressive white cliffs, formed where the rivers have worn away the edges of the causses, especially on the north side, where the spectacular table-top hill of the Puech d'Andan stands sentinel over the town. From medieval until modern times, thanks to its proximity to the sheep pastures of the causses, the town was a major manufacturer of leather goods, especially gloves. Although outclassed by cheaper producers in the mass market and suffering serious unemployment as a result, Millau still leads in top-of-the-range goods. In recent years the town hit the headlines when one of its residents, José Bové, leader of the farm-workers' union, was put on trial and given a three-month sentence for his involvement in trashing a McDonald's restaurant that was being built in Millau in 1999. He was protesting against globalization and against la mal bouffe junk food. Around 40,000 supporters turned out at his trial and he has now become a populist authority on all matters anti-global and anti-capitalist.
Pages in section ‘Millau’: The Town, Arrival, information and accommodation, Restaurants.