My Mazamet

Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho

Books, Food & 10 Year Plans


We left Spain 2 years ago today. What you see above is my last bloody mary at the marina. I loved the marina in winter, barely a tourist in sight. I was 36- and had no idea of where we’d end up. We had a list of five houses, all completely different from each other. From Parisian suburbs to Burgundy to (Northern) Aquitaine to the Basque Country… and Mazamet. I think we ended up in the right spot.

Next week we’re invited to the Christmas charity party at La Villa de Mazamet. The owners shocked us by announcing they’re putting the place on the market:


Their plan was to build up the hotel’s reputation in their 40’s, then sell it and downsize in their 50’s (by the sea, near their families.) That time has come. I imagine they’ll sell easily as the place is wildly successful. They’ve won all sorts of awards. I’ve never had a ten year plan- just a sort of general outline of life. I don’t like the idea of things changing every ten years. In fact I don’t like the idea of things changing at all. There’s no way anyone’s ever getting me to move again. Ever.

I found (and bought) an old book about Mazamet. Lots of pictures and the town’s history. Fascinating. Hautpoul is taken in 1212 by the Baron of Montfort in the Albigensian crusade. After the destruction people decide to come down the hill and resettle on the banks of the river. And that’s how Mazamet is born. More precisely Hautpoul-Mazamet as it was called at first. The 1337-1437 war with the English ravages the town. So much so Charles V orders the building of ramparts and pits. In 1517 the Mazamétains ask King François I for the establishment of a weekly market and three fairs per year (St. Martin, St. Mathias and Pentecost.) The requests are granted. The town suffers terribly in the wars of religion. The Duke of Rohan, head of the protestants, has 800 soldiers here; that leads the Prince of Condé to demolish the ramparts, set fire to homes and pillage Mazamet in 1628. The town gets its first official doctor in 1741. The main street (now named Édouard Barbey) is paved in 1762. In 1790 the population is 5,474. In 1792 the owner of the property across the street from number 42 is guillotined by the revolutionaries in Toulouse. In 1830 the inhabitants of Labrespy rise up against the inhabitants of Mazamet because of the confiscation of ham. Four people are killed and many injured in the clash. This is Occitania, ham is a serious matter. In the 1850’s Napoleon’s Marshal Soult (who was from this area) commissions local companies to make the fabric for military uniforms. There’s an economic boom. The population is now 12,000. By 1875 Mazamet is the wool capital of the world. Some of the biggest fortunes in Europe are Mazamet residents. In the 1870 war Baron Reille, representative for the region, takes his brigade to participate in the defence of Paris. 1909 sees the great strikes of Mazamet which lead to collective bargaining rights. And the first world war sees the town lose 453 men. A monument is erected in their memory in the park. It’s still there today.

See original image


14 comments on “Books, Food & 10 Year Plans

  1. Carmen
    December 9, 2016

    Like you, Mr. M, I dislike the idea of moving. In fact, I have moved twice in my life; I’m 59. We rented a little place for $10/month for the first ten months of our married life – that was in 1977-78 – and bought this place in 1978. We’ve been here ever since. I don’t want to ever have to clean out the attic. . . 🙂

    Mazamet sounds like my sort of place. Lots of history.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The move was such a shock to my system, I still haven’t quite recovered.
      The history thing here is interesting because although the place is old very little survived from the early days, except Hautpoul which is pretty much intact


  2. Hariod Brawn
    December 9, 2016

    Always keep your ham tucked safely away, Pink.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Helen Devries
    December 9, 2016

    My husband has itchy feet…and one sight of a new renovation project is enough to set him off so it always feels as though we are perching temporarily….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know how you do it. And you keep houses in different countries. I think I’d die of anxiety.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        December 9, 2016

        I think it keeps him going; takes his mind off his poor health.

        This house is his first new build and as it is on the finca where he can supervise the sheep there is half a chance that we might stay for a while….unless he sees something interesting in northern Nicaragua and moves us all there, lock stock and flock.
        He has renovated a historic house in San Jose, so there is a chance that he might be tempted by another one there…

        Still, it keeps us on our toes.


  4. Steve Ruis
    December 9, 2016

    La dolce vita, indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sirius Bizinus
    December 9, 2016

    I hate moving around as well. My dad was in the army, so I had to do a lot of it as a kid. Traveling isn’t bad, but there’s something nice about having a place of permanent residence. If you’re asked to move, remember you do have that flamethrower for self-defense.

    It is okay to have a 10 year plan. Plan to make the next one in the same place as you did the one prior.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Scottie
    December 9, 2016

    Ron has always been a wanderer. When we first came to Florida we moved every two years. Sometimes we had to take a loss in our property just because Ron felt he had to move. So after the fourth home I insisted that we get an RV when Ron again wanted to sell and move. My plan was when he got the need to move we would simply move the RV. Instead after 2 years he insisted we sell the RV and again move. We have been in our current home since 2007. Ron has wanted to move for years. Now we are talking moving from Florida to the snowy north. Oh well, he feel less a need to move around these days. Some day he may even learn to be happy where he is living and not feel such an urge to move on. Then again it has been an adventure. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ourfrenchoasis
    December 9, 2016

    I hate moving but have done it many times due to my husband’s work. Moving around the world, living in three different continents with five children in tow takes some doing, I think I am a pro at it!!! Now in France and I have said, Never Ever again am I going to move, and I mean NEVER!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. acflory
    December 9, 2016

    I know I’ll have to move from here eventually. 1.6 acres to tend and keep safe is getting harder each year. Nevertheless, I’ll drag my oldish bones for as long as humanly possible. This place is /home/.

    I’m so glad Mazamet has become home to you, Pinky. You and Mazamet and No.42 were made for each other. I see you in your greenhouse at 90, still pottering and still happy. -hugs-

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


This entry was posted on December 9, 2016 by in Mazamet and tagged , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: