In summary, at the origin of Icioulabas, there is the love of a little girl for her grandmother.
Anne’s grandmother, like all the old ladies, made jams, cakes, pancakes, snails and … cassoulet. The story occurs at the edge of the Canal du Midi, a few kilometers from Castelnaudary.
Like all children, Anne peeled apples, licked pot spoons and drank Granny’s stories. Granny often told this story of her grandmother, Anne’s great-great-grandmother, who, in 1918, had left her house for a long cart journey, with what she had most precious: a buffet, some clothes, a bag of loquats and her husband. Marguerite even related that Apollonia wept in secret sometimes, looking in the direction of her lost paradise.
During Anne’s childhood, this “paradise” and related taxes were spoken at family dinners until a decision was made to conduct an expedition there.
On arrival, a narrow path that climbs hard, ruins, scrub and through the branches a view of the mountains. Why don’t the grown-ups do anything to revive this place? Anne is eight but the energy of the place, unless it is the pregnant and benevolent presence of the ancestors, makes her want to act. A momentum that has not left since.
Anne grew up, and for her first journey as a young driver, she took her aunt to the paradise of the ancestors, the paradise of Anne too, without exceeding 90 kmph.
All in all, it is not as far as we imagined.
From this place that we are obliged to keep secret, we can provide you exclusive photographs.
Anne begins to make plans: here a dance hall, there a dining room, there a bathroom. There is a slight detail. This hamlet in ruins in the middle of nowhere belongs in little bits to a small forty heirs scattered in the vast world. It will take Anne, and her ally, her aunt, more than 10 years to find them all, convince them to sell their piece of land or their fraction of stone pile, exchange plots of scattered land against a smaller but single-piece terrain, attached to the house.
The work lasted 2 years. The result is beautiful.
We would be delighted to welcome you there one day. Be patient, you too deserve a piece of paradise.
What’s the relationship with Icioulabas? We are getting to that.
When Granny no longer occupied her house, the one of jams and cassoulet, Anne and Pierre did not want to sell it, they spent so many Sundays and school holidays there. In addition the adjoining house is inhabited by two weird old boys: they wear socks with holes, wash their teeth in the water of the canal, probably because it is UNESCO World Heritage, eat blackbirds and piboulades, do not heat themselves and spend their days peering through their broken tile windows replaced by cardboard. More disturbing, there is no more a cat a mile away. Against all odds, the two thrifty brothers eventually move into a pretty cardboard mushroom-like house on the outskirts of the city and agree to sell their stone house.
Work can begin. The houses are part of an old pottery. The grandma’s house will be baptized Pot1, that of the old boys, Pot2. There is actually a Pot3 planned, but it’s a secret that we can not disclose on the internet.
Nice result that makes the happiness of the two families who live here in the whole year. No relation with Icioulabas then? Yes indeed. We are getting to that.
A friend of Anne who has an apartment in a chalet in the mountains, seeing how Anne takes care of renting Pot1 and Pot2, swaps a few trips to Bonneval-sur Arc with a help to manage his seasonal rentals. Later, it’s a story that we will tell once, will come her parents house in Toulouse. Icioulabas was born.
Long live to Icioulabas Here-or-There !