Visit Madame la Marquise et Monsieur le Marquis de Bonneval at Château de Bonneval in Coussac-Bonneval. What can I say, this is one of these hidden gems you must see. This chateau has a long history and one that is so special as this chateau is still owned by the family Bonneval. On request the owners will guide you through the corridors, secret pass ways and tell you all about the  family history.  Each painting has a story, there is so much to see that you will not leave without feeling amazed, surprised and just so privileged to be able to have seen this time capsule. I have been inside and it is just beautiful if you like art, history and architecture, being here,  feels like you have entered heaven.

Building bridges: Monsieur Le Marquis and Madame La Marquise welcome you to their home, Chateau de Bonneval! Geraud de Bonneval and his wife, Marta, take great pleasure in inviting you to enter into, and experience the exciting and colourful 1000 year history of the Bonnevals, one of France’s most noble families. They have relaunched their new website today (available in English & French), making it possible to book your tickets online for the premium and evening visits. These visits are hosted by Monsieur Le Marquis and Madame La Marquise themselves making it even more special! Book your tickets here as there are not many places available: www.chateaudebonneval.com or contact info@chateaudebonneval

Chateau Bonneval is located in the village of Coussac Bonneval, as soon as you drive up to the village you will see the impressing chateau, the chateau was constructed in 930. At each corner the chateau has a big round tower among which the Donjon is the most amazing one; it has an original shape made of three sections.  One enters the Castle crossing the draw-bridge. The west façade of the construction is remarkable because of the beautiful terrace that was built in 1720 by Broussaud. Large windows allow the sun to enter, bringing light and heat inside the main apartments and salons that open on this side. The East side has not changed since Duguesclin in 1360. There are no windows or doors, only very small archers. The only time the family lost its ownership was when Duguesclin entered the fortress by surprise, conquered it and offered it to his friend Pierre de la Roche Rousse.    This situation lasted from 1360 to 1363. In 1363 Aymeric de Bonneval recovered his castle by subduing to the King of France, Charles V. From 930 to today the castle has been a property of the Bonneval family, except for those 3 years. This magnificent and interesting fortress is still now owned by the family Bonneval. The castle is open to visitors every day from June 15th to September 15th. July and August from 14h30 to 19h. June and September from 14h30 to 18h. Château de Bonneval, Coussac-Bonneval Tel +33(0)5.55.75.28.46 p.s. Spotted in the park a little chapel Claude Alexandre de Bonneval [Humbaraci Ahmed Pasha] (1675-1747)

The extraordinary life of Claude-Alexandre Comte de Bonneval served to illustrate the great exploits of adventure possible during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Born in 1675 into a noble family of the Limousin, de Bonneval served with great distinction in the French army at the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, and also in the Netherlands under Luxembourg. Despite his obvious military ability however, a spat with the French military authorities in 1704 caused the young de Bonneval to swap sides and he obtained a general’s command in the Austrian army under Prince Eugene of Savoy, fighting with notable bravery in a succession of campaigns against his own countrymen, the Pope, and afterwards against Turkey, being wounded at Peterwardein in 1716. Following this he briefly visited Paris to marry before taking part in the siege of Belgrade in 1717. Under Eugene, great opportunities and advancements beckoned for de Bonneval, but these fell by the wayside as he fell out with the French-born Habsburg prince who sent him away to the Low Countries. De Bonneval’s unruly temper landed him it yet further trouble with Eugene’s deputy governor in the Netherlands, who had him imprisoned before condemning him to death. Luckily the death sentence was lifted after a year and de Bonneval was exiled to Venice, before offering his services to the Turkish government. At this point de Bonneval converted to Islam (possibly to avoid extradition to Austria as much as anything else) and took the name Ahmed. Osman Pasha, recognising his military skills and experience, summoned de Bonneval, now widely known as Humbaraci Ahmed Pasha (having begun his services by founding a salary based artillery class in the military) and appointed him to reform the Turkish artillery along European lines. He gained the position of the Grand Seigneur (governor general) under Hekimoglu ‘Ali Pasha’s government and shortly after became the Grand Vizier’s consultant. On one hand, Humbaraci Ahmed Pasha’s career was a success, as not only did he seek to build an alliance with France through his reports on the foreign politics that he presented to the government’s high court, but his ideas were recognised by Mahmud I (indeed one such idea was that the Mediterranean and Red Sea should be connected by a canal). Furthermore he was widely regarded as someone who worked very hard on the improvement and rehabilitation of the  army through various projects and also by creating maps. On the other hand, the French ambassador Marquis de Villeneuve argued that Ahmed Pasha was incapable of keeping a secret and thus was not a suitable state official. Ahmed Pasha’s turbulent life took a turn for the worse in 1738 when he fell out of favour with the Turkish authorities and was banished to Kastamonu. On his return a year later he never quite managed to regain his former influence and his main employment became furnishing the Porte with comments about European political developments. His fall from grace clearly affected him and he even sent a letter to Louis XV on his grief and sorrow. Despite living in Turkey for many years, Humbaraci Ahmed Pasha was not a regular figure in Ottoman social circles. Indeed his house in the Bayoglu district comprised two parts, one of which was decorated in the Oriental style, and the other in the European manner. To the former Ahmed Pasha would invite those Ottomans of liberal character every week to discuss philosophy and politics with them. Humbaraci Ahmed Pasha died in 1747 and is buried in the cemetery of the Mewlewi-khane in Galata. His memoirs were published by Prince de Ligne as Mémoire sur le Comte de Bonneval (Paris, 1817). Further biographies include A.Vandal, Le Pacha Bonneval (Paris, 1885) and J.Almira, La Fuite à Constantinople (Paris, 1986). Among de Bonneval’s known works are the following: İcmâlü’s-Sefâin fî Bihâri’l-Alem, concerning the naval forces of European governments (Süleymaniye Ktp., Esad Efendi, no. 2062/2, 21 vr). Nemçe Çarı Memleketinin Ahvaline Dair Rapor, The Report on the Condition of the Hometown/Land of Nemçe Çarı (Süleymaniye Ktp., Esad Efendi, no 2062/1, 30 vr). Mülûk ve Mileli Nasârâ’da Olan Havâdisin Takrîr-i İcmâli, The reports and proposals that he presented to Babiali, the Grand Viziership building. (Süleymaniye Ktp., Esad Efendi, no. 3889, 24 vr).