Oak covers most of our French forests. Its presence has shaped our landscapes and it provides shelter for a great deal of biodiversity.

Oak has a long history as a noble wood and has long been used for building, shipbuilding, transport and furniture.

The "father of the forest" is an ancient symbol of wisdom, strength and power, and also represents the link between heaven and earth. He plays an important role in European mythology.


On 23 February 2022, the documentary Le Chêne, directed by Laurent Charbonnier and Michel Seydoux, will be released, a poetic ode to nature.

Around a 210 year old oak tree, a pillar of its environment, life is observed with the animals that live there as actors, from the roots to the top.

It is a moment of cinema, for the whole family, which tells the intertwined adventures of a whole preserved ecosystem.

Discover the trailer of this film:


Although the figures vary according to the environment and the studies carried out, an oak tree could be home to up to a thousand species of insects, birds, mammals, plants, lichens and fungi combined. It is a real biodiversity "hot spot" in an area.

From the beginning of the food chain to the presence of large mammals and predators, the tree creates an ecosystem on its own scale, which at the size of an oak grove, increases biodiversity.

From tiny insects to deer that feed on acorns in autumn, the oak invites many species to settle in a territory.


To spend a creative moment and make prints of plants, the oak for example, we propose the cyanotype kit. A great way to bring nature into your home and to decorate your interior.

You can frame your creations, which will give an authentic touch to your living room or bedroom, thanks to a photographic printing technique.


Être un chêne, sous l'écorce de Quercus, by Laurent Tillon, published by Actes Sud.

The author, who is in charge of biodiversity at the ONF, has been observing an oak tree in the Rambouillet forest for years. This observation inspired him to write the biography of this 240-year-old tree, which was born during the French Revolution. The reader follows the life path of this being and the adventures it goes through, static but alive.

Le livre des Arbres, Arbustes et Arbrisseaux by Pierre Lieutaghi, published by Actes Sud.

First published in 1969, this book by a botanist author devotes 73 pages to describing the different species of oak, their particularities, the beliefs they arouse and their uses. It is a synthesis of the knowledge of several French regions, condensed in a charming literary style.

The oak and other large trees, published by Deyrolle.

This publication from Maison Deyrolle brings together the plates from its vast naturalist collections, to help children discover nature and raise their awareness of environmental protection. It allows children to learn to recognize trees with beautiful and unique images. 


Since ancient times, the oak has carried a strong symbolism. "Robur" in Latin, which means "vigorous", also refers to the hardness of the oak wood. 

Among the Greeks, it is associated with Zeus and lightning, as it attracts him. This association with the power of the sky is also found among the Celts with the god Taranis and among the Scandinavians with the god Thor. In ancient French folklore, the leaves of an oak tree touched by lightning warded off evil and preserved health by giving strength to the gods.

The oak is therefore the tree of the ancient gods, the tree to which the Celtic oracles listened to the will of the deities.

It is also an inexhaustible source of strength, stability and generosity. Its longevity and the species it hosts can easily explain this symbolism.


Today, oak is still favoured in the construction and restoration of historical monuments. This is the case for the reconstruction of the spire of Notre Dame de Paris, which will use a thousand oak trees from all over France. 32 state forests, 70 communal forests and 150 private forests have donated their trees for this nationwide project.

Eight exceptional oak trees, taken from the Bercé forest enlarged under Colbert's ministry for the navy, will be used to form the base of the new spire.

Oak was described by the chief architect as a preferred material for its durability and plasticity to withstand the stresses of the building.


We propose an activity for children, to amaze them and make them notice the evolution of the living world around us. To do this, you need :

. a pencil

. a notebook

. locate a beautiful tree near you

Every fortnight, stand in front of your chosen tree for a while and notice the changes that take place. Note them and try to draw them to see what happens to the tree over the seasons. Your children will be surprised to see the many changes in the plant world.

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