Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chêne chapelle

Having posted about trees* and treehouses** many times, I was surprised to learn on "Jeopardy" last night of le Chêne chapelle, France's oldest tree (images above, more photos here and here). Thought to be between 800 and 1.200 years old, the oak was ancient by the time of Louis XIV (1638-1715) and Napoleon (1769-1821). More than a century earlier than that, it had been struck by lightning, which burned through the center of its trunk. The local abbot built 2 shrines in the hollow of the tree in 1669, Notre Dame de la Paix and the Chambre de l'Ermite, one of which is accessed by an external staircase. Located in the village of Allouville-Bellefosse in Haute-Normandie, the oak has been reinforced with poles and cables, and the missing bark has been covered with wooden shingles. Mass has been held at the tree twice a year and it is the destination of an annual pilgrimage on the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin. Le Chêne chapelle is included in lists (here and here) of the world's most incredible trees.

*Senator no longer stands, Arboreal goats, Cut down, Leaves don't leap, Tree mummies, Gingko, Elephants eat Christmas trees!, Spanish moss
**Adventurers Club, Castaways, Real and imagined, World's largest treehouse(s)

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