Tree surgeons began felling centuries-old oak trees which will be used to rebuild the wooden-framed spire of Notre-Dame de Paris after it was destroyed by fire in April 2019.
The lead-coated spire, which for more than 150 years had defined the central Paris sky line, was consumed by the blaze, collapsing through the stone vaulted roof to the tears and gasps of distraught onlookers.
President Emmanuel Macron announced last summer that the 96-metre (315ft) spire would be reconstructed as originally designed by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century, launching the hunt for the 1,000 oaks required to build the spire and the frame of the cathedral's transept.
"It's exceptional," said forestry worker Aymeric Albert of the sawn trunk of one-rod-straight 200-year-old oak. "It's perfectly straight and without any internal defects."
The trunk was large enough for an 18-metre long beam that will help support the weight of the spire, he said.
The cathedral's original roof contained so many oak beams it was called 'la foret' (the forest).
The trees that will be taken from the Domaine de Berce outside Paris were identified at the beginning of the year and must all be chopped down before the end of March before the sap rises and the wood becomes too humid.
The trunks, each of which will cost about €15,000, will be laid to dry for 12 to 18 months before being cut into shape.
Albert said those selected were the "perfect result" of two centuries' worth of skilled forestry work.