A deserted mini chateaux in Normandy France. I love the symmetry of the building. This was taken soon after the terrible wind storm that ravaged western Europe and England in December 1999; you can see the large pile of brush on the right.
In an hour, the hurricane-force winds roaring in from the English Channel toppled 10,000 of Versailles’ trees, blew in windows in the chateau and sheared off some of the edifice’s 220-pound lead roofing sheets, sending them flying in the wind like so many paper kites. Hubert Astier, president of the state-run museum and grounds, estimated that the chateau and its gardens and woods suffered more than $35 million in damage.
The Dec. 26 storm, and another the following day that raked southern France, caused devastation unequaled for as long as people in this country have been keeping records. A staggering 270 million trees, the equivalent of more than three years of French timber production, were blown down, and electricity and telephone service temporarily knocked out to millions.