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18th-century French chateau razed ‘by mistake’

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PARIS (AP) — Residents of a sleepy French village in Bordeaux have been left dumbfounded after discovering their 18th-century chateau was completely bulldozed "by mistake."

The mayor's office in Yvrac said Wednesday that workers who were hired to renovate the grand, 140,000-square-foot manor and raze a small building on the same estate in southwest France mixed them up.

"The Chateau de Bellevue was Yvrac's pride and joy," said former owner Juliette Marmie. "The whole village is in shock. How can this construction firm make such a mistake?"

Local media reported that the construction company misunderstood the renovation plans of the current owner, Russian businessman Dmitry Stroskin, to clean up the manor and restore it to its former baroque glory.

Mr. Stroskin was away when the calamity occurred and returned home to discover his chateau, a local treasure boasting a grand hall that could host some 200 people, as well as a sweeping stone staircase — was nothing but rubble.

"I'm in shock ... I understand the turmoil of the community," local media quoted Mr. Stroskin as saying.

He told them he plans to build an exact replica of the lost manor on the site.

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