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Visiting France

Builders demolish 18th century French château ‘by mistake’

media The Château at Yvrac Screengrab from

The Russian owner of the Château Bellevue in Yvrac in southwestern France says the 18th century treasure was destroyed “in error” by a team of Polish builders after a misunderstanding.

Dmitry Stroskin, a software specialist, told the French newspaper Sud Ouest that he bought the property in 2010 from a rich Bordeaux family.

A year later, he submitted an application for building permission to the local authorities. Local official Lise Mattiazzo described his plan as “a very pretty renovation project”.

Stroskin says he hoped to use the house as a holiday home and had intended to repair the façade of the chateau, modernise the pool and build a pool house.

But on 26 and 27 November, the firm of builders he had hired simply razed the whole chateau to the ground, to the amazement of everyone, said Lise Mattiazzo.

Stroskin says he is in shock, and that “even if the building was in very bad condition”, he wanted to “create an identical reconstruction of Bellevue”.

Mme Mattiazzo says Stroskin told her that the Polish company “had completely misunderstood” and that he had asked them simply to destroy the small guest house adjacent to the chateau.

However, some of the local people wonder whether the destruction of the chateau really was a genuine error.

They report that Stroskin had expressed concern that the foundations of the chateau might not be sufficiently deep, and especially, they note that he is still using the same construction company for his projects.

The Mayor has notified Stroskin and public prosecutors that he is in contravention of building regulations and has taken steps to ban any further building work at the site.

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