France Day 5: Tarabel with Grandparents

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September 11th 2004
Published: February 2nd 2009
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Church in TarabelChurch in TarabelChurch in Tarabel

The belltower is typical for this region of France as well as the all brick construction, it matches the nearby castle and is essentially attached to it.

Childhood Memories

We drove out with grandpa and grandma on one of our only two excursions by car on the trip. Papy cannot drive well anymore so I ended up doing most of it at the wheel of his low mileage but beat up Citroen Xantia. Tarabel is not that far, maybe 15 miles east of downtown Toulouse, but despite recent growth, it still is in the countryside, the equivalent of Sunbury to Columbus.

Growing up in Texas Axel and I used to fly out here every summer to visit the grandparents for a month and spend time with mom's aunts, uncles and cousins whiling the summer away in papy and mamy's house in the countryside village of Tarabel. We grew up out here and had a lot of fond memories, it was great to come back with papy and mamy and take some photos and also to be able to show it to Jennifer, I wish she had come down with me the last time I visited.

We visited their old house which they sold a few years back, it was sad to see as they always used to talk about how they wanted to pass it on
Chateau de Tarable DependencesChateau de Tarable DependencesChateau de Tarable Dependences

The castle's quarters, this is the second castle in the village, much more recent 18th or 19th century building.
to us. Grandpa put so much work into this house, it looks nothing like when they had purchased it in 1980.

The Village

Principally an agricultural village with no more than 100 inhabitants in the old center but growing on the outskirts of the commune with new housing developments. The commune has the distinction of having two castles in the immediate area, the one located in center of the village is remarkable for its moat and all brick construction. It dates from the 15th century thanks to the Pastel trade in the Lauragais. Pastel was used as a blue dye at the time and was much sought after throughout Europe in the 15th and 16th century.

The church is from the 19th century while the main bell is from 1559. The first mention of Tarabel as a lordship in the local registers was in the 14th century, although there are references to Tarabel in the logs of Albigensian Crusades against the Cathars including Cathar perfects and bishops from Tarabel being burned at the stake in Montsegur.

We snuck into the grounds of the Chateau de Tarabel and also what I believe is the Chateau de Bugnac
New Chateau de TarabelNew Chateau de TarabelNew Chateau de Tarabel

The newer castle. We snuck onto the grounds, something we had never had the guts to do when we were younger.
which we always referred to as the "new" chateau growing up. From my research, Bugnac was a commune that was absorbed into Tarabel and so I think it makes sense that this castle would be Bugnac as I have seen it referenced as being within the commune elsewhere.

Additional photos below
Photos: 7, Displayed: 7


Papy & Mamy's Old HousePapy & Mamy's Old House
Papy & Mamy's Old House

This was one large farmhouse that was owned by the local noble and was originally most likely on the outskirt of the central village. A stele sits above the door from when it was built and I believe it states the house in from the 1830's.
Tarabel, the old CastleTarabel, the old Castle
Tarabel, the old Castle

Located inside of the village. I believe parts of it date from the 13th century. Local nobles made their fortune and were able to build these castles across the Lauragais based on the Lavendar trade.
Old Castle, the CourtyardOld Castle, the Courtyard
Old Castle, the Courtyard

Again, we snuck in here, it seems the castle, like the newer one, is abandoned save for a groundskeeper. We had always dreamed of sneaking in when younger. These old large castles are very expensive to maintain and as they were passed on through generations, the splits in wealth could not keep up.
View to the South, CaramanView to the South, Caraman
View to the South, Caraman

Right next to their old home, the great view we used to have from the terrace, but also a windy place! When we were little, grandpa dug for underground secret passages here that were never found and he launched WWII flares he had stashed away.

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