(00 33) 2 98 39 62 25
Contact Fax (by appointment) :
(00 33) 9 50 04 32 70
Headquarters : 5 Hent Meneyer, 29 950 Gouesnac'h, France.
Postal address : 2 impasse de Kervégant, 29 350 Moëlan sur mer, France.

Quimper's emblematic boat

 

Quimper is the capital of the area known as Cornouaille (the south-west corner of Brittany) and is also the administrative centre for the Finistère ‘département’. With its half-timbered houses, cobbled streets, riversides adorned with flowers, and evidence of its medieval walls, Quimper is a city that has always been cherished by painters. There are picturesque neighbourhoods on the outskirts, and converging in the centre are Quimper’s two rivers, the Steir and the Odet.

Quaint narrow streets join up quiet little squares planted up with numerous flowerbeds, and public gardens are dotted around the city. Here and there are buildings made of granite or with slate-covered façades.

The ceramics factory of H.B. Henriot, one of the oldest manufacturers in France, is worth a visit and very typically Breton. Quimper is an authentic Breton city with its beautiful cathedral dedicated to St. Corentin, the first bishop of Cornouaille and a friend of King Gradlon who is said to have founded the town and whose statue dominates the building. The original 11th century church that stood here, Notre-Dame, was built in Romanesque style, but was later reconstructed in flamboyant gothic style. This work took place over six centuries, finally being completed in the 19th century. The 76-metre high filigreed stone spires were only finished in 1855. The cathedral has recently been renovated and cleaned, works that took 20 years, and now presents a truly rejuvenated masterpiece, its stonework looking as if freshly cut.

In the heart of the city, the cobbled streets are lined with shops and half-timbered houses and are bustling in the summer, especially during the second half of July when about 250,000 visitors descend for the ‘Fête de la Cornouaille’ festival involving more than 200 performances, processions and concerts, including traditional Breton musical instruments such as the ‘cornemuse’ (bagpipes) and ‘bombarde’ (similar to an oboe).

There are lovely walks along the River Odet as it wends its way through the city, and it’s safe to say that the capital of southern Finistère captivates all its many visitors. An interesting visit can be made to the Breton Museum, housed in the Rohan Tower, with a remarkable spiral staircase and collections of pottery and furniture. Also, the Museum of Fine Art, which has works from the 14th to the 20th century and, of particular note, paintings from the Pont-Aven School. Located near the town hall in St Corentin square, the museum is in an Italian palace which was built in 1867, thanks to a legacy from Count Jean-Marie de Silguy, and renovated and extended in 1991. Inside there are superb collections of 17th century Italian, Flemish and Dutch art, and French artworks from the 17th to the 20th century. Quimper is a beautiful city, both charming and very Breton.