In the middle of Preuilly on the river by the lavoir there is a group of six enormous London Plane Trees Plantanus x hispanica which were planted in 1820. They have never been pollarded and have been allowed to simply grow and grow. They can be seen from all over town, looming over the rooftops in a great green mop, the effect exaggerated by how closely they are planted so that in leaf they all merge into one another and look like a stupendous single tree from a distance.
Many trees in public spaces in France are neatly pollarded and trimmed on an annual basis, unless the trees are intended to form an avenue, like these at Chanceaux pres Loches. Although our trees are planted in two rows, six trees hardly constitutes an avenue - they're there to shade the boules surface (court? arena? does anyone know the offical term? IS there an official term even?). Nevertheless, our Plane trees no doubt thrive due to their proximity to the river and a nice easily accessible water supply. Nearby, the Lime Trees Tilia in front of the school have been pruned every autumn for many years.
The origins of the London Plane are shrouded in mystery. No one is sure whether they are a natural or a cultivated hybrid whose parentage is questionable. It may even be a sport ie a naturally occurring mutation that then breeds true. They appeared sometime in the 17th century and my friend Todd tells me that no one knows how long they live, as none has ever been recorded as dying of old age.