France has an ongoing love/hate relationship with Plane trees. They beat them into submission through hard annual pruning, and force them into becoming magnificent, tortured-looking, sculptural Goliaths.
No town square, high street, or front garden, is complete without these speckled-trunked and twisted trees. They stand there like huge camouflaged columns, reminding you that YOU'RE IN FRANCE.
In fact, there are so many of them here that the expression Rentrer dans un platane simply means 'to crash into a tree'.