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Le château de Garrevaques a été, pour moi, un havre de paix. J'y ai été accueilli avec mon frère après avoir quitté le Liban en 1976 pour fuir la guerre!!

Nous avons été accueilli par Madame Barande, que nous appelions affectueusement Maded. Elle nous a plongé dans sa vie familiale très chaleureusement et ce dés le premier jour!...

Les quelques années que j'ai vécu au Château de Garrevaques, dans cette adorable famille, où Maded était pour nous comme notre mère, où les membres de sa famille se rendaient si proches de nous, comme Kinou sa fille et Claude son gendre, on fait que je me suis senti un membre à part entière de cette famille. Ce sentiment fort, je l'ai toujours aujourd'hui...

Le château et son parc ont été pour moi des endroits de choix, plein de beauté et de douceur où nous savourions le temps qu'on y passait les week-ends et les vacances scolaires.

Après avoir vadrouillé un peu partout, je suis revenu m'installer à quelques kilomètres du château de Garrevaques tellement les liens sont forts avec la famille de Maded et ce magnifique lieux.

                                                                                                  Michel Jreige

Evening gathering of smiling friends on the terrace of the château de Garrevaques, with wine and champagne
Gathering of teenagers in front of the château de Garrevaques during the 1970s. Most of them ran away countries at war.

Three years ago, I was right here in the chateau de garrevaques… you have to imagine it’s dark. It is two o’clock in the morning and we are celebrating Claude’s seventieth birthday. We are in Le Salon Bleu where portraits of his wife’s family hang on the walls. The air is filled with disco music from – appropriately enough – the seventies, and the parquet creaks under dozens of pairs of dancing feet.

For a moment these celebrations strike me as anachronistic and incongruous, but they also remind me that history in this part of the world is not locked away inside a glass cabinet in the bowels of a dead museum. It is alive through the people and their homes, and my hostess Marie-Christine is the sixteenth generation of the same family to reside in the Château de Garrevaques. Her grandchildren are running around somewhere too.

I escape through giant French windows onto the terrace for some air and a look at the grounds. A few hours ago we stood here in the evening sunlight and drank champagne. Now I lean on the balustrade with a glass of red, and from behind me, light spills out through the open doors across the terrace, down the steps and into the park, far enough to reveal the ancient oak tree planted at a time when Columbus was still learning to sail.

I am partying – we are partying in a place that epitomises the history of the Lauragais.

Colin Duncan Taylor

Author of 'Lauragais: Steeped in History, Soaked in Blood'

Having known the Combes family in 2003, I have been fortunate to have spent many stays at the Château de Garrevagues over the years. The welcome of the family and Marie-Christine especially is out of the extraordinary. She makes everybody feel welcome, at home and always knows how to touch people’s hearts and minds. It is the personality of Marie-Christine as a host that makes a stay at Chateau de Garrevaques an exceptional moment, enjoying the beautiful, well maintained Chateau with all its history and stories and the beautiful surroundings of the Lauragais. To me and my family the Chateau and the Combes Family are home and family. Thank you for all you give to all those that come and go! 

Maggie Bergsma

Family diner in the dining room of the château de Garrevaques. A delightful moment of sharing stories, culture and French way of life
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