Quimper, the prefecture (capital) of the Département of Finistere, derives its name from the Breton
"Kemper" confluent as it was built in the hollow of a lush green valley at the confluence of the Steir, Odet and Jet estuaries. It is the capital of the ancient diocese, kingdom and later duchy of La
Cornouaille, Brittany’s most traditional region, and has a distinctive Breton character. Its inhabitants are called Quimpérois.
According to legend, the first bishop of Quimper, St Corentin, came across the Channel with the first Bretons some time between the fourth and seventh centuries to the place they named Little Britain (Brittany). He lived by eating a regenerating and immortal fish all his life, and was made bishop by one King Gradlon, whose life he later saved when the seabed city of Ys was destroyed – see Myths and Legends.
By AD 495, the town had become a Bishopric. It subsequently became the capital of the Counts of Cornouailles. In the 11th century, it was united with the Duchy of Brittany. During the Breton War of Succession of the 14th century, the town suffered considerable damage. In 1364, the duchy passed to the House of Montfort.
Today, it is a relaxing place with a rustic atmosphere and picturesque footbridges, decorated with geraniums and chrysanthemums in the autumn, spanning the rivers that flow through it, although still active enough to have the bars – and the atmosphere – to make it worth going out café-crawling. This is a city at the heart of Breton culture. You can listen to the Breton-speaking populace, stroll along the quays and boulevards beside the Odet River and look at the houses along the Rue Kereon and Place au Beurre. According to Gustave Flaubert, the French novelist, this is a charming little place with cobbled streets dominated by a cathedral, and how right he is: The medieval quarter “Vieux Ville” with its pedestrianized streets, wide array of crêperies, half-timbered houses, not forgetting the shops. Just the place to purchase traditional Breton lace and sample some of the local cuisine (crepes and cider).
Allow time to climb to the top of Mont Frugy, a wooded hill that overlooks the city, not an especially difficult stroll along the switchback Promenade de Mont Frugy: At the summit, have a beer or a coffee at “L’Eppe” and enjoy the view.
* Jardin des Remparts: This very French-style garden takes pride of place in the spring and autumn floral decorations.
* Jardin de la Retraite: Located in historical heart of the city, surrounded by the ramparts and ancient moats, the Garden of the Retirement is one of the most interesting and well patronised gardens of Quimper. At one time this was a monastery garden and used as a walk-way to the cemetery. Today, it is a succession of small closed gardens as well being home to many plant collections (palm trees and plants of subtropical climate).
* Le jardin du Prieuré: Close to the banks of the Odet, Priory of Locmaria and the Porcelain factory, this medieval garden offers a space of rest and wandering as it did in the time of Anne de Bretagne with a collection of medicinal, aromatic and medieval plants.
* Cathédrale St-Corentin: Named after the first Bishop of Quimper, a Gothic structure that took nearly 200 years to complete. The chancel dates from the 13th century, the nave and transept for the 15th century. The two steeples were added around 1856, however the salty sea air has toned the stonework to such an extent that it is difficult to believe the upper parts of the façade are nearly four centuries newer than the lower part. Allow at least 90 minutes for your visit.
* Musée des Beaux-Arts:The museum has a 19th century façade and an entirely rebuilt interior. It houses a collection of 14th to 21st century paintings that includes works by Boucher, Corot, Oudry and Rubens along with canvases by such Pont-Aven school painters as Bernard, Denis, Lacombe, Maufra and Sérusier.
* Musée départemental Breton: Formally the episcopal palce, it is devoted to regional history (archaeology, ethnology, economy). There are extensive displays of Breton costumes, artifacts and crafts. So this is the place to get your crash course in our culture. Beside this building you will see the ruins of the town’s 15th century walls.
* Musée de la Faïence: Quimper has been famous for “faïence,” glazed earthenware since the 17th century. The museum is housed in the old “Maison Porquier” that dates from around 1797 with a collection of 2,500 items displayed on two floors.
* Faïenceries de Quimper HB Henriot: Since the end of the 17th century this company has been producing the finest handmade and painted faïence using bold provincial designs of Jean-Baptiste Bousquet. We invite you to join the tour of these workshops at the small cost of 4€ each. The tour is in French and English and is an unforgettable experience.
* Église Notre-Dame-de-Locmaria: This Romanesque structure dates from the 11th century and was extensivly rebuilt in the 15th century. Originally a Benedictine abbey, it as assigned to the army during the revolution. In 1857 it became the parish church and was totally restored and the southern transept is rebuilt on a solid foundation.
If you come during the last week of July, the town will be frenetic as this is the time of the Festival de Cornouaille, a celebration of Breton culture and music. Come and join us, you will not regret it, you will have an amazing time.
|Anavezet-mat eo Kemper, anezhi ker an eskob ha kêr an dug, evel kêr-benn istorel
Bro-Gerne. Ha pa vefe tres ar Grennamzer warni, gant hec'h iliz-veur dreist pep tra, ez eo ur gêr eus an XIXvet hag an XXvet kantved.
A-hed an istor eo bet Kemper ur goudor hag ul lec'h treizh. Savet e oa bet ar gêr gentañ e deun un aber da vare ar Romaned, en-dro da obererezhiou ar porzh a oa izeloc'h, e Lokmaria. Er Grennamzer e voe tapet lañs el lec'h ma kember ar Stêr Deir gant an Oded (diwar-se anv Kemper), abalamour ma oa ul lec'h aesoc'h da zifenn moarvat. Ne c'haller ket komz eus Kemper, kêr-benn gozh konted c'hal¬loudus Kerne ha kêr an eskob, anez ober anv eus sant Kaourintin a oa mignon d'ar roue mojennel Grallon. Hiziv an deiz ez eus ramparzhiou en-dro d'ar c'hreiz-ker. Adalek iliz-veur c'hotek Sant Kaourintin (XIIIvet, XVvet ha XIXvet kantved), unan gaer ma'z eus, e loc'h ur rouedad straedoù ha straedigoù tiez o.bannoù koad hag re vein eus ar XVIvet, XVIIvet ha XVIIIvet kantved a bep tu dezho. A-hed an Oded emañ kêr an XIXvet kantved, gant he forzh hag he savadurioù melestradurel. Merzout a reer ar c'haeoù espar kempennet bray gant o zreuzelloù bleufivet.
Pa'z eer uheloc'h a-hed ar glannoù dudius eus lodenn vor an Oded e weier mat al lec'hioù pouezus stag ouzh istor Kemper. Lokmaria, ouzh troad Menez Fruji, ul lec'h mojennel war zinaou ma kaver ar gêriadenn gal-ha-roman a orin a zeuas da vezari ur fabourz gant ur prioldi beneadat war-Ierc'h ar bloavezh mil, hag ur c'harter pobl goude-se pa voe staliet feilhañserezhloù eno e 1690; uheloc'h c'hoazh, war ar c'hlann all, emañ an eil keriadenn sa vet goude ar bloavezh mil, hag a ya daou stroll kêrel d' ober anezhi : plasenn Douar an Dug, gant he lez-varn, he ziez o bannoù koad hag he c'houentoù eus ar XVIIvet kantved, ha kêr an eskob hag he neuz eus ar Grennamzer, mogerioù-krerñ en-dro dezhl, etre ar Stêr Deir hag ar Froud
|Quimper was an episcopal and ducal town and established itself as the historic capital of
Cornouaille. Its medieval aspect, dominated by its cathedral, does not mean it is any less a town of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Throughout Its history, Quimper has been a haven and a crossing point. Established upriver on a ria, or steep-sided inlet, the earliest town developed in the Roman period based on activity around its har¬bour downstream at Locmaria. In the middle ages, it was the site at the confluence of the rivers Steir and Odet (Kemper in Breton) which became important, probably due to its defensive characteristics. The image of this episcopal town, former capital of the powerful counts of Cornouaille, is inseparable from the name of Saint Corentin, bishop and friend of the legendary King Gradlon. Today the town features a centre enclosed by ramparts. A network of streets and lanes, radiating out from the Gothic Cathedral of Samt-Corentin dating from the 13th, 15th and 19th centuries, is bordered by half-timbered and stone houses from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The 19th-century town with its harbour and administrative buildings lies along the banks of the Odet. As visitors will note, the quaysides are attractively laid out featuring numerous footbridges decorated with floral displays.
It is when you go along the pleasant banks of the maritime river of the Odet that the eventful past of the town IS revealed Locmarla. at the foot of the steep and legendary Mont Frugy, IS the first Gallo-Roman site, which after the year 1000 became a Benedictine priory dependency, then in 1690 a workers' quarter with earthenware factories. Further upstream and on the other bank is the second site, established after the year 1000 and made up of two princely urban ensembles: the Terre-au-Duc with Its court, its half-timbered houses and its 17th-century convents and the episcopal town, with its medieval decor surrounded by ramparts between the Steir and the Frout