Walking in Quimper

We visited Quimper on two rainy days so the photographs are rather dull, but the weather didn’t dampen my delight in this historic town. Our guide on the first occasion was Wendy Mewes in her excellent new book of Walks in Finistère . We parked alongside the Odet River – ‘Quimper’ means the confluence of rivers, the Steir and Odet Rivers – and set off to follow her circular town walk with insights into local history.

The Odet River at Quimper
The Odet River at Quimper

The area around Quimper has been inhabited for thousands of years but we started exploring in the Middle Ages at the wonderful Saint-Corentin Cathedral, started in 1239 and continued into the 16C. The adjacent Bishop’s Palace is now the Departmental Museum of Brittany. 

The Rue Kereon leading to the Cathedral of St Corentin
The Rue Kereon leading to the Cathedral of St Corentin

plan-of-quimper-cathedral (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plan_de_la_cath%C3%A9drale_de_Quimper_par_Chaussepied.png)

Cathedral of St Corentin

Cathedral of St CorentinCathedral of St Corentin

The Cathedral of St Corentin

The Museum in the Bishop’s Palace is fascinating, with artifacts thousands of years old, Quimper pottery, and an exhibition of traditional Breton clothing.

Breton regional costumes are spectacular, and the tradition of embroidery continues in present times.

Contemporary Breton embroidery
Contemporary Breton embroidery

The Bishop controlled the town inside the walls, some of which are still in place together with the only remaining defensive tower, the 13C Tour de Névet. Near the Tower and just inside the walls is a newly created garden in what used to be a cathedral garden.

The Tour de Nevet & Mediaeval Walls of Quimper
The Tour de Nevet & Mediaeval Walls of Quimper

The Garden of Peace, Quimper

The Garden of Peace

Outside the walls and beyond the Steir River was the Duke’s estate – Brittany was a Duchy. There are many pretty streets with timbered and half-timbered house – ideal for wandering!

The Pont Medard over the Steir River in Quimper
The Pont Medard over the Steir River in Quimper
Place Terre au Duc, Quimper
Place Terre au Duc, Quimper

The walk took us along the Odet River to Locmaria where the Romanesque Church of Notre Dame de Locmaria was quite startling in its austerity. The Church dates from the 11C, or perhaps earlier – it is certainly older than the Cathedral of St Corentin. If I understand correctly, this was first established as a male order but then (11C) came under the control of a woman, a Prioress.

Notre Dame a Locmaria

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Notre Dame a Locmaria

Prioress Marie of Bourgneuf, c.1650
Prioress Marie of Bourgneuf, c.1650

A wonderful town in which to wander, and linger, and this walk was the first of two visits – this time!

Further information
St Corentin Cathedral
The Pottery Museum in Locmaria
Notre Dame a Locmaria
A visit to Quimper & Locmaria

 

 

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