France is remarkable in many ways, including in trees. We recently published an article about the remarkable trees in Paris and now below you’ll find some for the rest of France.
We were out on a bike ride a few kilometers from home the other day and came across a tree planted in 1556! It was huge! And in great shape. The tree is called the Platane de Diane because it was planted by Diane de Poitiers, favorite of Henri II when she received the hunting property at les Clayes. A beautiful plantain tree that has seen not only Diane, but certainly Louis XIV walk beneath during a hunting trip, saw a first chateau built under Henri III, destroyed partially during the Revolution and another chateau built in the 19th century, burned by the Germans as they retreated at the Liberation, the telegraph line running past up on the hill, the writer Tristan Bernard and the artist Edouard Vuillard and who knows how many other famous people and events. All that in the Paris suburbs Les Clayes-sous-Bois, right near home, but some how hidden from us for more than 20 years. It’s remarkable what is in your own backyard.
Reading the interpretive sign I was inspired to see that there are 400 such remarkable trees in France. I noted the website which had an interactive map of the remarkable trees in France. These trees have all be designated as worth preserving for different reasons. Some are very old, other large, others have cool shapes, others have witnessed history or are part of legends.
Some physical criteria are remarkable for some trees but not for others. Age is an interesting criteria. A yew of 500 years is not exceptional, but a 500 year old beech is. Height and girth are also relative to the species of tree. Circumference is measured at 1.3 meters from the ground.
- The tricephal oak in the parc des Cordeliers (Gard) Just 220 years old, this tree was brought back from the United States by one of Lafayette’s companions.
- The oak chapel d’Allouville-Bellefosse (Seine-Maritime). This oak shelters two superimposed chapels which date from the end of the XVIIth century. The chapels are connected by a staircase.
Trees that are remarkable for their shape include
- The oak of Ker Nevez (à Saint-Laurent-Bégard, côtes d’Armor); A wine press has become engulfed in the bark of this mighty big oak.
- In the forest of the Montagne de Reims (Marne), you can see twisted up beech trees which interlace : hêtres tortillards ou faux de Verzy. These trees have a genetic specificity that is only reproduced in two other places in Europe. It is a dark eerie place, but full of interesting wildlife as well. This was another discovery we made one day while out biking. It is great fun to find these hidden gems right in the middle of your path and France is full of such sites. The Verzy forest is just north of Reims and easy to reach on a day trip from Paris.
Here are some other trees you can visit not too far from Paris:
- The cedars of Louis de Noailles à St Germain-en-Laye
- The 2 cedars at l’aéroport Charles-de-Gaulle à Roissy-en-France
- The plantains du miroir d’eau de l’abbaye de Maubuisson à St Ouen-l’Aumône
- The sequoias de Ferrières-en-Brie
- The trees in the parc du château de Breteuil,