Versailles’ oldest tree gets the chop

9th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

VERSAILLES, France, Feb 9 (AFP) - The oldest tree in the grounds of the palace of Versailles - Marie-Antoinette's oak - was pulled down Wednesday more than 320 years after it was planted.

VERSAILLES, France, Feb 9 (AFP) - The oldest tree in the grounds of the palace of Versailles - Marie-Antoinette's oak - was pulled down Wednesday more than 320 years after it was planted.

Measuring 35 metres (115 feet) high and 5.5 metres (18 feet) in circumference, the tree died of dehydration in the heatwave of 2003 after being deprived of surrounding cover in the devastating storms of December 1999.

Planted in 1681, the oak was named after the ill-fated wife of King Louis XVI who reputedly liked to enjoy its shade. It is to be replaced by another of the same species.

Two tractors took less than two minutes to topple the giant to the ground.

"There is a lot of sadness because our job is to manage the trees and look after their health. I can't help thinking of all the generations of gardeners who watched it grow," said head-gardener Alain Baraton.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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