vue PORT GRIMAUD




The oldest shopkeeper :


barre Port Grimaud


       Madame Mabileau has lived through the years in her shop 'Le Cagibi' which moved three times, following the expansion of Port Grimaud...
       The Pink was Her colour! Her clothes, her hats, her house, right down to all her cars which she had painted...


barre Port Grimaud

Everyone called him 'BILOU... :


Bilou port grimaud

       On 22 December 1967, Mrs. MABILEAU opened her first decoration shop in the Grand Rue.
       She arrived a few months earlier at the 'Prairies de la Mer' with her two daughters, without much money but with a fierce determination to get by. She lived in a simple tent (the hard years) and started by cleaning in the bars of the campsite and then in the algeco premises of François Spoerry's office, place des 6 Canons.
       Thanks to the kind-hearted architect who encouraged her and to many friends who helped her financially, she was able to open her first shop in the Grand'Rue, which she named 'Cagibi Décoration'.
       Three years later, when the Market Square was completed, she moved to open her 'Cagibi' next to the pharmacy, and then permanently to the Place des Artisans a year later.
       A strange destiny for this little woman who never gave up, even in the hardest times. An exemplary life for an extraordinary worker who, despite her old age, opened her little shop every day, receiving visit after visit from all the residents and staff of the lakeside town and from the owners who never missed the opportunity to give her a friendly 'hello'.
Le Cagibi, à Port Grimaud

       Madame MABILEAU, whom everyone called 'Bilou', had to overcome some tough trials:
- the death of his eldest daughter, wife of Bernard Spoerry, after a long and painful illness
- the totally unexpected disappearance of her second daughter, Caroline, in 2005. Caroline used to come in every summer to help her mother run the shop, manage the stock and place all the orders.
       Running his shop after these misfortunes became impossible. It took all the energy in the world to try to give him the courage to live... But in vain! She left us in the most absolute pain...

       Bilou, who saw the birth and growth of the lakeside town, who furnished and decorated dozens and dozens of houses and flats, who knew all the first owners, who forged very strong ties of friendship with these happy residents, who saw their children grow up, had become, over time, a true encyclopaedia for PORT GRIMAUD, knowing all the stories or anecdotes that make up the 'life' of a village...


In the photo, the very first 'Cagibi', in the Grand'Rue in 1968

barre Port Grimaud

The Cagibi Décoration :


Le Cagibi à PORT GRIMAUD
The last Cagibi, place des Artisans, with the pink car!


90 ans de Bilou port grimaud

       In spite of all the misfortunes that struck her during her long life, in spite of the daily pains that handicapped her in her movements, in spite of the loneliness, in spite of the 'blues' that often brought tears to her eyes, our little Bilou continued to face each day that passed with an incredible energy and determination...

       Our little Bilou celebrated her 90th birthday on Monday 28 July. Chloé SPOERRY, her granddaughter and granddaughter of the architect François SPOERRY, many portgrimaudois, friends, came to visit her to share the glass of friendship and the birthday cake...



anniversaire Bilou anniversaire Bilou anniversaire Bilou anniversaire Bilou

On these photos, we recognize Jean Claude BONNET, Michelle BARBE, retired from the ASP, Anne Kiss, former pharmacist of the lakeside town and town councillor, her neighbours, a nice couple who looked after her when he lived in Port Grimaud and...
... a little girl: 2 generations, a life accomplished and a life to be accomplished...

Bilou et Alain Benedetto
Mayor Alain Benedetto never missed a birthday...
barre Port Grimaud

« When an old man dies, a library burns » :
( Extract from "Amkoullel, l’enfant Peul" by Amadou Hampâté Bâ - Malian writer and ethnologist 1900-1991 - )

Bilou port grimaud

       What is the point of continuing to live when the head is lucid but the body is worn out, tired, laminated, and never ceases to cause pain and torture?
       My little Bilou decided this Friday October 31, 2014, to close her eyes forever...

       Today marks the end of a long and beautiful friendship, born many years ago, when I put together my exhibition on the history of Port Grimaud. My little Bilou has been a real living memory of the beginnings of the lake town, having 'preserved' many documents which have been of indispensable use to me.
       And since then, I had taken great pleasure in meeting her almost every day, either in her shop waiting for the customer while chatting and laughing, or at her home, in the evening, over a glass of her favourite wine.

       She was sometimes a pig, but I loved her like that, sometimes happy, sometimes cruel...
       My little Bilou, she was like a second MOTHER, a sister at heart, a little fairy with a sense of complicity and mischief, a very dear friend. And I have the feeling that a joyful part of my life has just collapsed...

       Every morning, when the day rises over my lake city and the sky is coloured in multiple shades of pink to announce the arrival of the sun, I want to believe that it is you, little Bilou, who has been entrusted with the task of painting this firmament with your favourite colour, pink...
       I will never miss another sunrise. It will be like you and I keep meeting...
       because a beautiful friendship never dies!

barre Port Grimaud

derniere photo de Bilou

The last photo of Bilou taken a few days before she left us...
barre Port Grimaud


  the work of François SPOERRY...




© Yves Lhermitte 2022   Reproduction prohibited without permission...