At a French 17th century chateau achaeologists are recovering statues, possibly Stalinist propaganda, that were part of the 1937 Paris World Fair.
As Mr. Gentili ventured onto the grounds, he found a centuries-old “ice chest” — a 15-foot-deep hole in which people used to store ice. He opened a hatch, obstructed with cement, and “fell on what turned out to be the cement breast of a woman,” he recalls.
As he dug further, he realized he’d stumbled upon remains of the 1937 Soviet pavilion.
Though an expert in medieval art, Mr. Gentili, 45, was familiar with the history of the CGT-run resort. His father, a steelworker who had been affiliated with the union, told him about holidays he had taken at Baillet before Mr. Gentili was born. “All my family used to come here,” he says.