Back in the 12th century. Guillaume de Calmont-d'Olt, bishop of Cahors, was a proud lord. He loved galloping through meadows, hunting! But one day, his horse nearly unseated him and sent him into the wild river Lot, from a terribly high bridge!
Phew, he escaped alive... but he was thoughtful: it was a real miracle! Guillaume felt that someone, up there, protected him. So, to say thank you, he decided to raise a monastery!
He sent 7 monks from Mazan abbey, who came in 1147. Let’s go to work! Little by little, other monks came and they raised the church, the monastery, the religious buildings.
The place was called Boralde valley, but they renamed it Bona vallis, Bonneval ("nice valley"), because the place seemed so nice... Guillaume left his bishop seat and ended his life in his abbey. His masterpiece!
Hundred Years War, war of religion and armed crooks often plundered the abbey, during centuries. But what’s worse than wars and men’s madness? The commendatory abbots! Abbots, elected by kings, who stole all the abbey’s money and let monks bloodless...
Sold during the Revolution, Bonneval welcomed Cistercian sisters in 1870. They restored the place and moved their own chocolate factory: nowadays they still make chocolates, based on a traditional recipe!
Our abbey was raised on a lonely valley; it’s the Benedictine rule which imposed that: the more you’re far away from cities, the best it is for meditation and prayers! The abbey became powerful and rich in the Middle-Ages. Oh, counts of Rodez and kings gave lot of money to monks.
They even put those money and treasures in the big square keep, that we still see near the Cayrol village. What about the abbey itself? It’s composed of a long wall flanked by big pepper-box towers. We enter in by an 18th century portal composed of two buildings with Imperial roofs, framing a small dwelling house crowns by a Virgin Mary's statue.
This one dates back to the 12th century! Inside, around the main courtyard, monks used to have their barns, stables and stocks. Nowadays, we can’t visit the buildings, but we can buy chocolates!