On the way to Santiago de Compostella via Tolosana, (Toulouse route, which begins in Arles), or via Podiensis (starting point Le Puy) , many travelers in the past centuries have praised the beautiful, magnificent landscapes, the numerous monuments of culture and the hospitality of the inhabitants of the Pyrenees region.
Holidays in the Pyrenees, regular visits to friends and own experiences of a pilgrimage from Aachen to Santiago de Compostella at the end of the last millennium, lead in the year 2005 to the acquisition of a simple house in the Southern French Haute Garonne, a small village, called Saint Pé Delbosc.
The house now in a desolate condition with the aptly name Le Pèlerin, stood vacant during a long time, after the previous resident, an old alone living man, had moved to a nursing home. The only remaining habitants of the house were countless termites and wood beetles, who executed their destructive work. The roof timber framing was partially collapsed and gave the rain free game to the massive walls of the house, which mainly consisted of dried clay bricks (briques de terre crue) and hence completely eroded at some places. A water tap outside beside the front door symbolized the sanitary facilities; a single electric socket at the entrance was taken over as the nesting site of a red-tailed bird family. The toilet took place in the open sky.
Situated on the property were also a sheepfold and a barn, which had not been used for many years and presented themselves with sunken roofs.
Thomas Haendly, our good friend and retired architect, designed the restoration plans according to our ideas and in spring 2006, after official building permission was received we could start with the renovation work. In addition to our own handicraft activities and with the help of friends, good and skilled artisans from the close neighbourhood provided us with advice and support: masons, roofers, and ground workers. In addition to the renovation work a sewage treatment plant or so-called “fosse septique” on our property was created, an absolute precondition for obtaining a building permit. The rainwater coming from allt he roofs is now being collected in a quite big pond.
In the year 2014, after completion of the restoration work of the buildings, we could finally open the doors to our family and friends.