Aujourd'hui nous sommes le dimanche 20 mai 2018. C’est la fête de Saint Bernardin.


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Les platanes se font abattre

Chopping down the plane trees along the Canal du Midi

The Canal du Midi, the chef d’oeuvre of Pierre-Paul Riquet is known as one of the most beautiful places to go canal boating and also the towpath cycling track with the most shade in France.  However, next year, the Canal du Midi could be losing its classification as a World heritage Site. 

The 40,000 plane trees that line this curving river-like canal that dates from 1681 and links the Mediterranean with the Atlantic, are dying.  The 150 year old trees are being destroyed by a fungal disease which can be spread by spores in the water and by roots inter-touching.  The fungus causes blockages in the plant vessels which in turn cause the tree to dry out and die. 

To prevent injury and damage from dead falling branches and also to check, as much as possible, the spread of the disease, 1400 plane trees are destined for the chop.  They will be felled onto tarpaulins and burnt on site.

The plane trees came originally from the United States and so, apparently, did the fungal disease, brought in by American boats in 1945. A replanting programme is under consideration using trees that are resistant to the disease. 200 million euros will be needed for such a programme and there have been suggestions that people “adopt a tree” to help with the costs.

Click here for a report on the problem: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx8S8buEoRw&feature=relmfu

Click here for a clip on cycling Le Canal du midi : à vélo De Toulouse à Castelnaudary

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhM74q20O20&feature=relmfu

Pierre –Paul Riquet was an amazing man.  He was way before his time in his treatment of workers and there were a large number of women who worked on the canal project.  For an extremely interesting history of the canal which is considered one of the major engineering feats of recent times, go to  www.midicanal.fr/ 

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