Historic trees downed in France

About 10,000 trees, many of them historic, were lost at Versailles' famous gardens last week as storms that battered Europe knocked over trees planted during Napoleon's reign. None of the statues or smaller chateaux were severely damaged, but the 17th-century palace's roof and windows had to be repaired. Although the chateau has reopened to visitors, the grounds are expected to be closed for weeks. "Some of the grounds will seem bare," says Hubert Astier, Versailles president. "It will change [the appearance of] the park." He estimates the cleanup's cost at $3 million, but long-term repairs could be $31 million, twice the annual repair budget.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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