So absolute was the devastation to the landscape during WWI, largely through the prodigious use of artillery and poison gas, at the end of the war a 1,200 square kilometre ‘Zone Rouge’ was declared by the French government along the border with Belgium and Germany, labelling the land unfit for human habitation.
Buried unexploded ordinance remains the main threat, and the official estimate is it will take the Sécurité Civil agency another 700 years to make the area safe. Yes, seven hundred (!!) years!
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By Oeuvre personnelle [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons