FRANCE: The Wave of the Future

For more than three centuries, the people of Tignes let the rest of the world alone, and expected to be left alone. In their tiny (pop. 600) village and valley, nestled among the towering peaks of the French Alps, they raised their crops, milked their cows, patched their limestone houses and married their neighbors. Then came the French government, with the U.S. Marshall Plan dollars and an itch to spread electricity and progress. The government decided to raise a dam on the Isère River just above Tignes—a dam that would flood out the village.

The Tignards watched the bulldozers roll into...

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