Pruning of the plane trees 

On our first trip to Quillan we arrived to winter bare plane trees and watched as they budded and bloomed over the first weeks of Spring. This time we arrived as they were at their fullest glory, and watched as they were pruned back to bare trunks. The square remains as beautiful as I remember – veiled or otherwise.

  The Place de la Republique in all its shady, green-fringed loveliness at Summer’s close.

Monday morning on our second week, a couple of small trucks, one with crane, accompanied by several men in fluoro jackets arrived in the square. Something was afoot. It soon became clear that it was time for the annual pruning of the planes – l’elegage des platanes.

  First step: take the easy way up into the tree.

  Second step: power chainsaw off the branches. Surprisingly straight forward.

  Gradually each tree is denuded and light floods in.

  Peekaboo – there’s a house behind that tree! Branches end up all over the square – fortunately most of the work is done on the Monday when the Cafe du Fleuve is closed.

 It’s surprisingly quick to clear the square of detritus thanks to the chipper. The result is a truckload of what looks like lawn clippings. Amazing.

  Two trees down, three to go. Pruning the trees just in this square alone takes two full days. And there are plane trees all over town…

 The workers are gone, leaving the trees bare, but the square no less beautiful – and check out that view. Glorious.

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