Hundreds of Centuries-Old Trees Felled to Rebuild Notre-Dame's Iconic Spire
April 13, 2021
After a devastating fire destroyed much of the roof and iconic Gothic spire of Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral in April 2019, architects from around the world proposed an array of ideas for how to rebuild. One envisioned a structure made from recycled ocean plastic, while another suggested that the roof be converted into a cross-shaped swimming pool.
Ultimately, however, the French government agreed to rebuild Notre-Dame's iconic spire "exactly as it was." Now, with the time-consuming process of authentic reconstruction well underway, the government is taking a major-and somewhat controversial-step: cutting down 1,000 historic oak trees in more than 200 forests across the country, as Thomas Adamson and Nicolas Garriga report for the Associated Press (AP).
Public and private forests from every corner of France contributed roughly 150- to 200-year-old oaks that were selected through a painstaking process in January and February of this year, per the AP. As Kim Willsher reported for the Guardian in February, the trees needed to be chopped down by the end of March, before their sap rose, to prevent humidity in the wood.