FRANCE: The Valley of Death

Five miles above the quiet Riviera town of Fréjus (see map), French engineers five years ago built Malpasset Dam. A graceful, sweeping arc of concrete 738 ft. long and 197 ft. high, it backed the Reyran River into a lake six miles long and two miles wide. Only 22½ ft. thick at its base and 5 ft. at the top, the Malpasset was, French technicians boasted on its completion, the world's thinnest major dam. It was to prove an unhappy boast.

Fréjus (pop. 14,000), which likes to call itself "the Pompeii of Provence," is rich in Roman ruins and history....

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