The ubiquitous London Plane, found throughout this region in the South of France, lining the streets of towns and cities and country lanes. Most often Pollarded, a pruning technique to reduce the size of the trees, involving chopping off the tops and thinning the interiors, the Plane trees are made to fit the narrow spaces allotted for them. The pollarded trees are less susceptible to the Tramontane, the fierce cold and dry winds that blow down from the northern Pyrenees, often for days at a time with violent snaps and bursts. We experienced a bout of these winds and saw the pollarded trees respond accordingly.
Above, in Collioure, the asphalt pavement is encroaching very close to the trunk. Notably, these tough urban trees are still alive. Most likely not for too much longer though, as they are experiencing a blight and share a narrow genetic pool that is vulnerable to disease.
To our surprise, the street our hotel is on is lined with the American Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora!
We now travel to the adjacent sea-side fishing village of Port-Vendres, which features a unique Louis XVI monument bizarrely surrounded by an asphalt parking lot, pictured in the the two photos below. There is an orderly assembly of mature London Planes gracing the parking lot with shade and greenery, however this asphalt sea is lapping right up on the trunks in this case.
We will be continuing this discussion in upcoming posts, so stay in tune!