Leran is now undergoing "French Chainsaw Massacre". A highly efficient crew is working its way along Cours St. Jacques, removing the canopy of massive plane tree leaves. For those of you who have never seen a plane tree, it is similar to the sycamore tree in the US with the papery-thin camouflage bark. I imagine these city employees having to attend "pollarding school", where they learn the techniques of cutting off just enough but not too much.
It may be good for the trees. It certainly keeps the city employees busy for several days. And by next summer, there will be a new full canopy overhead. But from now until then, there won't even be bare branches to look at. Because what is left is just stubs. Butchered stubs. It is like a blight has wiped out the village.
In a country that treasures fine wines, cheeses, breads, art, and architecture, it is aesthetically reprehensible to butcher the most famous tree in France.
There must be alternative solutions, ones that are more visually acceptable and yet accomplish the goal of restraining tree height and size. As I watched the crew buzzing away, it occurred to me that rather than pollard every tree every other year, why not pollard every other tree every year? Get it? This would always leave some leafy foliage until it drops, and branches to soften the harshness of the stubs. If you agree, drop a comment to your local city council person.