Latest update: 04/12/2012
18th-century French chateau bulldozed ‘by mistake’
A Russian businessman has been left devastated after builders demolished his 18th-century French chateau among the Bordeaux vineyards, seemingly by mistake. Irate local authorities have launched an investigation.
By FRANCE 24 (text)
Authorities have launched an investigation after an 18th-century French chateau was demolished, apparently by mistake.
The 13,000-square-metre Château de Bellevue was located among the famous vineyards of Bordeaux and was due to be renovated to its former glory, but instead it was bulldozed by a Polish building firm.
Workmen were only supposed to demolish a separate small building on the grounds of the estate, but that remains standing.
According to local French media, the château’s owner, Russian businessman Dmitry Stroskin, was “left in shock” when he found out his mansion had been razed to the ground.
Stroskin, who runs an import business in Poland, told reporters that he had spent years searching for his ideal French château and finally decided on Bellevue after “falling in love” with it.
The businessman said he understands the anger among local residents in the town of Yvrac, but said he will not be prosecuting the builders for their calamitous gaffe.
“The damage has been done,” Stroskin said.
He has vowed to “rebuild an identical Bellevue” including the chateau’s grand hall, which could host up to 200 people.
He may be held to that promise by the irate mayor of Yvrac, Claude Carty, who has ordered all work on the site to be stopped while an investigation takes place.
Local authorities have also lodged a complaint over a breach of the town's building code with prosecutors.