Au Revoir to the Canal du Midi Trees

July 29th, 2011

Angelique Chrisafis of The Gardian reports:

The doomed plane trees of the Canal du Midi

An unstoppable fungal disease has left France no choice but to reach for the chain saw, bringing down the ceiling of leaves covering the nation’s most romantic waterway.  The felling of these trees is seen as a national tragedy and its Unesco heritage status is at risk.

The 42,000 plane trees provide a beautiful dappled canape over the Canal du Midi, which winds from Toulouse to the Mediterranean.  They date back to the reign of the Sun King Louis XIV.  The disease has spread steadily along the canal since being identified in 2006.  It arrived in France in wooden ammunition boxes of American GIs in World War II.

Replanting will start soon but it will take 30-40 years to replant the famous leafy lane that runs for 200 kms through the historic heart of southrern France.  2000 trees will be felled by the end of this year, and 4000 next year until they are all gone.  So, if you ever planned to travel on this wonderful waterway, DON’T delay — see details of our recent trip in a post below.

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