UK & World News
18th Century Chateau Wrecked 'By Mistake'
Residents of a sleepy French village near Bordeaux have been astonished to discover that their local 18th-century chateau was completely bulldozed "by mistake".
The mayor's office in Yvrac said workers who were hired to renovate the grand 13,000-square-metre (140,000-square-foot) estate in November and pull down a small building mixed them up.
"The Chateau de Bellevue was Yvrac's pride and joy," former owner Juliette Marmie said, adding: "The whole village is in shock. How can this construction firm make such a mistake?"
The chateau's current owner, Russian businessman Dmitry Stroskin, was away at the time and returned to discover his chateau - with a grand hall that could seat some 200 people - was nothing but rubble.
According to Sud-Ouest, Mr Stroskin had no idea what was going to happen.
"I didn't know the chateau was destroyed, I'm shocked," the businessman said, insisting he was commissioning an architect from Paris to rebuild the chateau to make an exact replica.
The Russian, who is reported to run an import-export company which exports products from France to Poland and Russia, says he is not going to pursue the builders over their mistake.
"I totally understand the excitement among local community members and the procedure at the prosecutor's (which is looking into the matter), but I'm not going to look for those responsible for this error; the damage is done."
The company that did the building work has its cars registered in Poland, according to Sud-Ouest.