As if there isn’t enough death and disappointment in the world today, the City of Paris made the unfortunate call to recently raze a glorious Wisteria tree that has been cherished by the locals of Montmartre for more than 100 years. I was just here a few weeks ago with my daughter, who was probably one of the last to take a seat on the gnarly trunk before it was so cruelly torn up.
Gracing the Place du Calvaire just around the corner from Place du Tetre and in the shadow of the imposing Sacre Coeur Basilica, this tree seems to have grown its’ roots into the hill and hearts of Montmartre residents over the years.
Outraged to see its longstanding life literally cut short with no notice at an already precarious time, locals continue the battle to contain the spirit of the past as modernity creeps in. Yet despite the tourist hoards that roam the cobblestoned hilly streets in search of scenes from Amélie, Montmartre continues to be beloved for the same old school countryside appeal that once attracted artists like Picasso and Modigliani.
There seems to be controversy between city officials who claim the tree was dead after work was done around the tree last year and locals who claim the tree may have been damaged, but surely could not have been a lost cause since it had already begun to bloom. Even the owner of Chez Plumeau , (the restaurant where the tree stood) claims he was certain the tree was starting to recently bloom when he was alerted to what was happening on March 17th by a neighbor. He rushed over to find the iconic tree already uprooted and his terrace now lacking what used to be an immense budding centerpiece. Meanwhile, as several associations like Montmartre Addict are fighting back against this injustice to both history and nature- the city of Paris has promised to replant a new tree, who will undoubtedly have some illustrious roots to grow into.