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Versailles: Return To Grandeur

Two weeks after a violent windstorm in France, the power is finally back for the last of the three million homes that lost it. Damage estimates are topping $4 billion, but as CBS News Senior European Correspondent Tom Fenton reports, it's almost impossible to put a price tag on the destruction at one of France's most famous and glorious historic parks in the world.

Said Hubert Astier, the Chairman of the Versailles complex, "It's a very terrible damage. It is irreplaceable, like (a tree) planted by Marie Antoinette, the queen before the end of the 18th century."

Driving through the gardens of Versailles, it's amazing to see that trees that withstood three centuries of wars were brought down within minutes by winds of more than 100 mph.

Those in charge of the grounds say though the gardens will reopen in a month, they won't be the same. They will plant 10,000 new trees, but they will be planting them for their grandchildren -- it will be fifty years before Versailles looks like it did before.

Astier threw a thank-you party for his workers who voluntarily came in from Christmas vacations. Their quick work fixing broken windows and the damaged roof of the chateau helped save the priceless structure from irreparable harm.

Astier reported that they have received monetary gifts toward the restoration project, especially from Americans. It's not the first time Americans have extended help. In the early 1900s, the Rockefeller family gave millions to save the chateau from ruin.

Now, more Americans visit Versailles than French. American companies also donate more than French firms. So while restoring Louis the Fourteenth's masterpiece will be the work of the French, it will be appreciated on both sides of the Atlantic.

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