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A little history...
Bonneval, from its founding in 1147 to the Revolution
Today, the one coming from Espalion discovers at the bottom of the valley two pavilions connected by the entrance gate where, in its niche framed by small columns, smiles a Madonna and Child of the twelfth century. The towers, round and square, with or without machicolations, and all the buildings of various styles surprise from the start. These fortifications of various eras bear witness to an eventful history: the Hundred Years' War and wars of religion, looting and fires did not spare the monastery, despite everything occupied by a sufficiently large community until the Revolution.
Origin of the abbey
From Cîteaux ...
A simpler lifestyle, more loneliness and separation from the world, more poverty in food and clothing, reinstated in honor of the work of the hands: such were the aspirations of the first Cistercians, who were first Benedictine monks eager to return to fidelity to the Rule of Saint Benedict.
Of all the monastic foundations of this period, none experienced a rise comparable to that of their "New Monastery" established in the forest of Cîteaux (1098).
... in Bonneval
Owned by the direct sonship of Cîteaux (by Bonnevaux and Mazan), the Abbey of Bonneval en Rouergue was born in 1147.
The abbey owes the initiative of its foundation to Guillaume de Calmont d'Olt, bishop of Cahors (1113-1143 / 1145), whose family castle still dominates Espalion. At his request, seven monks from Mazan en Vivarais with their prior Adhémar settled in Pussac, not far from the road that goes down from Laguiole to Espalion. Then, some time later, no doubt to find more loneliness, water sources in abundance and the proximity of the river, they came to settle two kilometers further, more deeply in the valley, with the place said "Bonalde". A wild valley with steep slopes, showing large rocks bare in the middle of beeches, oaks, ash trees ... In the middle flows a river, the Boralde de Flaujac. It is a typical Cistercian site because "Benoît loved the hills, Bernard the valleys" according to a medieval saying.