A metamorphosis ...

It is the 11th Germinal of Year VI (1798)

that Jean-François Loup, a farmer in Carcassonne, is authorized to operate a Catalan forge whose construction was undertaken by the previous owner Count Dumas de Saint-Gervais, emigrant.
In a dozen years, he adds a faience and finally a wool spinning mill.
The hydraulic force activates wheels and swifts.

To the jury's report

of the National Exhibition of 1806, the Forge of Montolieu is awarded a gold medal for its fabrications of iron. The cost, however, of road transport, combined with difficulties in the supply of beech wood and competition from industries employing more modern methods of production, forces owners to cease all metallurgical activities around 1820.

Transformed partly into spinning mills, the buildings changed owners in 1823 and in 1863, when the whole was bought by Messrs. Casimir Degrant and Prosper Lacombe, manufacturers of sheets in Carcassonne.
Also appear on the plan: a whip, a fulling mill, a pottery.

Paul Lacombe

Paul Lacombe, visionary, musician composer, operates in 1880 the daring metamorphosis of the paternal good inherited in castle and park of the high bourgeoisie carcassonnaise. He draws the garden and plants indigenous or exotic species thus testifying to his interest in the botanical discoveries of his time and his love for life as it spontaneously proposes on its land.

In 1910, Jeanne and Louis Gazel

In their turn, they acquire La Forge and continue to embellish their domain; in particular, by adding a beautiful 1930's orangery. From audacious families of engineers to Puicheric and rich winemakers in Olonzac, they invite progress in the form of electrical installations / turbine, telephone, cars, carriages ... Mr. Gazel travels and dies young while Madame lives then recluse thirty years at La Forge.

la forge de montolieu

Robert Barlabé and Johan & Hilde Van Den Eede

Between 1973 and 2009, the Forge passes into the hands of two other owners.

Robert Barlabé, a real estate developer from Carcassonne, will consolidate infrastructures, look after the trees and build a lake, while Johan van den Eede - a Belgian musician and composer - and his wife Hilde, will undertake the complete renovation of the main building for eight years.
La Forge is in 2009 a New York loft in a green setting. Too heavy as a second home, they separate their broken heart.

Laure, bookseller and Charles Cowen - Franco-American - musician, photographer

have arrived from Provence and have acquired The Forge in two stages;

in 2009 and in 2013. They live there year-round. The loft has been transformed into a cabinet of curiosities.
A significant historical research work has been undertaken since 2009 and the curious host will find, between discussions and documents, exchange material on the history of La Forge, Aude and Audois, Catharism.

la forge de montolieu

Sources :

• Article of the magazine Patrimoine en région, n ° 28, spring / summer 2016.
• The industrial heritage of the Aude by Michel Wienin, Editions de l'Inventaire, 1989.
• The Forge of Montolieu, ed. The Forge of Montolieu, 2017, booklet.
• Paul Lacombe, the musical testament of a great symphonist, Martial Andrieu, Editions Music and Heritage, 2013.

Heritage in the region
The Industrial Heritage of Aude
The Forge of Montolieu
Plan of the dam
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©Departmental Archives of Aude
Paul Lacombe
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©Departmental Archives of Aude
La Forge au 19eme
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©Departmental Archives of Aude