Forest of Bercé (France) (AFP)
Several hundred years old and at least a meter thick, the first century-old oaks were felled in northwestern France for use in the reconstruction of the damaged Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral. fire.
Experts have scoured forests across France to select 1,000 developed oaks with long, straight trunks that can be used in the spire and roof of the Gothic cathedral, which was devastated by fire in April 2019.
The first four were loaded onto a heavy-duty trailer by crane Thursday in the Berce forest near Le Mans, 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Paris, with four more expected to follow on Friday.
“We are fortunate to work with these exceptional specimens,” Mickael Durand, director of the sawmill selected to cut them, told AFP. “We work with 15 tonnes and you can’t make any mistakes…” They may be 300 years old. “
The trees will be cut and stored for 12 to 18 months to prepare them for use in the reconstruction phase which is expected to begin at the end of 2022, allowing a planned reopening of the cathedral in April 2024.
Over 800 million euros ($ 950 million) have been received or pledged from private and corporate donors for the painstaking reconstruction of this 13th century masterpiece.
As the spire collapsed and much of the roof was destroyed on April 15, 2019, the efforts of firefighters allowed one of the French capital’s most famous buildings to survive the night.
© 2021 AFP