Bonneval

Bonneval

An old medieval city surrounded by the river Loir and its ditches, Bonneval was a pioneer in environmentally-aware tourism. In 1996, an activity of electric boating was launched and now, fifteen boats take some 18,000 visitors yearly around the beauties of the Venice of the Beauce.  The boat trips are a friendly and family activity attracting tourists from far beyond the borders of Europe. Along the canals, the rich heritage of the city is on display – the King Tower, the abbey, the St Roch gate. And it is only logical that Bonneval should have made canoeing one of the main sports in town. The local club is quite successful at national level.

The boating trend is such that it will be transferred to larger premises in 2013, close to a leisure base located near the oldest gate in town, the 13th century Porte de Boisville. The transfer will provide better facilities for all and especially for the disabled, for whom a special runway will be built. Environmental concerns will again be a priority as the new clubhouse will be built with wood from local forests while the riverbanks will be protected.

2 previous stages
Population: 4,650
Eure-et-Loir department (28)Economy : tourism, metallurgy, transport, food industry, parachemicals.
Specialties : rata beauceron (stew), see Chartres.
Nickname : the small Venice of the Beauce.
Sport : Godillose (running road race), canoeing.
Celebrities : Henri Ey (psychiatrist), Laurent Bezauly (cyclist), Romain et Brice Feillu (cyclist), Thierry Bouhraoua (seven a side rugby), Joel Normand (former Elysée cook)
Festivals : La Godillose

Timeline

  • 857

    Foundation of the St Florentin abbey, around which the town developed.
  • 911

    The abbey is burnt down by the Normans.
  • 1131

    Bonneval is granted a charter and improves its fortications. Sevn towers are built, two of which still exist.
  • 13th century

    Notre-Dame church is completed.
  • 15th century

    After an English siege, the town is split by a ditch.
  • 1568

    Protestant troops led by the Prince of Condé destroy the town and the abbey.
  • 1665

    Bonneval is ravaged by a flood.
  • 1771

    New flood of the Loir River.
  • 1900

    Birth of Henri Ey, who ran Bonneval Mental Hospital and created the Bonneval colloquia.
2 previous stages
Population: 4,650
Eure-et-Loir department (28)Economy : tourism, metallurgy, transport, food industry, parachemicals.
Specialties : rata beauceron (stew), see Chartres.
Nickname : the small Venice of the Beauce.
Sport : Godillose (running road race), canoeing.
Celebrities : Henri Ey (psychiatrist), Laurent Bezauly (cyclist), Romain et Brice Feillu (cyclist), Thierry Bouhraoua (seven a side rugby), Joel Normand (former Elysée cook)
Festivals : La Godillose

Bonneval and cycling

Bonneval is in the heart of the Beauce region and is situated on the route of the classic cycling race Paris-Tours. Additionally, the town hosts the start of the shorter version of the race reserved for “Espoirs” category riders. Indeed, Tom Boonen, who won Paris-Tours Espoirs in 2000, was also the winner of the stage which set off from Bonneval, several years later during the 2004 Tour, and finished in Angers. A leading time-trial Great Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, has a happy memory of Bonneval where he comfortably dominated the first stage of 2003 Tour de l’Avenir. But on the region’s roads, amateur cyclists are more used to bumping into Laurent Bezault, the former rider, who lives in town. During his career, Bezault always made sure to be at his best in his home region, twice winning the Tour d’Eure-et-Loir. He unfortunately rode only one Toyr de France, in 1989, before tragedy struck. The 1988 teal time trial Olympic champion was hit by a car in the Tour de l’Oise, an accident that ended his career.  A Prix Laurent Bezault is held every year in his home region.

2 previous stages
Population: 4,650
Eure-et-Loir department (28)Economy : tourism, metallurgy, transport, food industry, parachemicals.
Specialties : rata beauceron (stew), see Chartres.
Nickname : the small Venice of the Beauce.
Sport : Godillose (running road race), canoeing.
Celebrities : Henri Ey (psychiatrist), Laurent Bezauly (cyclist), Romain et Brice Feillu (cyclist), Thierry Bouhraoua (seven a side rugby), Joel Normand (former Elysée cook)
Festivals : La Godillose

What to see

St Florentin abbey

The Benedictine monastery of Bonneval was founded in 857 by Charels of Provence, the great grandson of Charlemagne. First dedicated to St Peter and St Marcellin, the abbey was called St Florentin after the saint’s relics were transferred from Suin, in Burgundy.

The abbey was plundered in 911 by Norman raids, during the Hundred Years War and by the Protestant troops of the Prince of Condé in 1568. After the Revolution, the monastery was sold to a merchant, who installed a textile mill and a carpet factory. The Department bought the abbey in 1828 to host an orphanage later replaxced by a mental institution.

Notre Dame church

The church is in the primitive Gothic style and dates mainly from the early 13th century but the lower sections of the building reflect a 12th century origin. Its contruction probably started on the same time as the Chartres Cathedral. The gables, adorned with hooks, are from the 16th century. The building is 47 metres long and 20 metres wide.

Above the main altar, a beautiful rosace is adorned with a stained glass window depicting the former patron saints of Bonneval churches. Close to the organs can be seen two large paintings coming from the St Florentin abbey. The steeple, covered with slates, stands at 65 metres high. It holds three bells, the lodest one dating from 1598.

King Tower

Located near the St Roch gate, the King tower is an old 13th century keep which belonged to the town’s fortifications. It is 22-metres high.

2 previous stages
Population: 4,650
Eure-et-Loir department (28)Economy : tourism, metallurgy, transport, food industry, parachemicals.
Specialties : rata beauceron (stew), see Chartres.
Nickname : the small Venice of the Beauce.
Sport : Godillose (running road race), canoeing.
Celebrities : Henri Ey (psychiatrist), Laurent Bezauly (cyclist), Romain et Brice Feillu (cyclist), Thierry Bouhraoua (seven a side rugby), Joel Normand (former Elysée cook)
Festivals : La Godillose

Bonneval colloquia

Bonneval played a leading role in the history of French psychiatry thanks to Heni Ey, who for nearly 40 years ran the mental hospital installed in the old St Florentin abbey. Born in Banyuls-les-Aspres, in south-western France, Ey was appointed as the head of the institution in 1933 and stayed in his post until 1970. The hospital was home to 380 patients, women exclusively, and Ey only left them every Wednesday to give lectures at Paris St Anne hospital. Generations of psychiatrists were taught by Ey.

In Bonneval, his office was set in the ancient kitchen of the monks and it is where he wrote most of his grounbreaking works. From 1942, he also organised the soon to be famous Bonneval Colloquia, bringing together the most famous psychiatrists and psychoanalysts of his time (Stein, Lacan or Lebovici).

But Ey was not only a theorician. During WWII, he bravely fought to sustain his patients and to defend their rights to live and be fed in times of shortage. He received the War Cross for his activities in the French Resistance.

The Bonevval Colloquia survived their founder, who died in 1977, and several editions were held in the 1980s and 1990s.

2 previous stages
Population: 4,650
Eure-et-Loir department (28)Economy : tourism, metallurgy, transport, food industry, parachemicals.
Specialties : rata beauceron (stew), see Chartres.
Nickname : the small Venice of the Beauce.
Sport : Godillose (running road race), canoeing.
Celebrities : Henri Ey (psychiatrist), Laurent Bezauly (cyclist), Romain et Brice Feillu (cyclist), Thierry Bouhraoua (seven a side rugby), Joel Normand (former Elysée cook)
Festivals : La Godillose
video21/07/2012 

The towns 2012 : visit Bonneval

Jersey wearers after the stage 5

Classifications after the stage 5

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