This pretty city in Finistère, 15 kilometres from the coasts, has the Rivers Steïr and Odet running through it. Many footbridges over the two waterways, the medieval old town, the little streets and the peaceful squares contribute greatly to the city’s romantic atmosphere, influenced by the medieval period.
Three distinct areas form its historic centre, to be explored on foot at your leisure!
The Locmaria quarter, featuring an old priory, medieval garden that has earned the Remarkable Garden label, and a Romanesque church, which has large amounts of Breton art. In this area, there are some lovely pottery and embroidery shops, including one name that’s not to be missed: the Henriot-Quimper faience pottery works, a local institution!
The episcopal quarter, with the old Bishops’ Palace and the Cathedral of St. Corentin, built in the 13th century, is one of the oldest Gothic cathedrals in Brittany. Be sure to admire its stained glass windows and two spires, towering 75 metres above the ground.
The Dukes of Brittany quarter, with its Church of St. Matthew, houses with corbels, gables or timber frames, typical cobbled streets named after the medieval corporations. Quimper is Brittany’s cultural capital. To find out more about the history and artistic heritage of the city, head to the Museum of Fine Arts, one of the most extensive in France, based in an Italian-style palace. There are works of art by the Pont-Aven School on its walls, and one section is dedicated to the legend of Ys, a town that was engulfed by the waves.
The region’s heritage is showcased at the old episcopal palace, which has been turned into a Breton departmental museum devoted to the popular arts and traditions of Finistère.
Quimper has some lovely shops where you can buy tasty treats, as well as factory outlets, especially for pottery: a good opportunity to acquire a famous “Breton bowl” with your name on it. To find out more about this art form, feel free to visit the Earthenware Museumin the Locmaria quarter, which has a long list of exhibits, some of which are unique.
If you feel hungry, don’t hesitate to sample the famous lace pancakes or pay a visit to a pancake house!
Since 1923, Quimper has hosted the Cornouaille festival every year in July, with Breton music. Many shows and concerts take place during this period.