The Cathedral and Regional Museum in Quimper

We had walked through the covered market and spent a few hours in the Fine Arts Museum in Quimper and after coffee it was time to visit the Cathedral of St Corentin which dominates the centre of the old town of Quimper.

Construction on the Cathedral began in the 13C, and, as often was the case, building was on the site of older churches. This is apparently the reason for the ‘weeping nave’ – it was skewed to avoid an earlier chapel where Alain Canhiart was buried in 1058. It was he who founded the Priory at Locmaria (which is at the end of the this post) for his daughter. I just wanted to enjoy the building, but a detailed examination of the Cathedral is here.

The Cathedral of St Corentin, Quimper

The Cathedral of St Corentin, Quimper

The ornate West Door of the Cathedral of St Corentin, Quimper

The ornate West Door of the Cathedral of St Corentin, Quimper

Saint Corentin

Saint Corentin, the first Bishop of the Cathedral

The 'weeping nave' in the Cathedral of St Corentin, Quimper

The ‘weeping nave’ in the Cathedral of St Corentin, Quimper

The Cathedral of St Corentin

The Cathedral of St Corentin

Alongside the Cathedral the former Bishop’s Palace is now the Regional Museum. The building is interesting but so are the collections of Breton costumes, pottery, and furniture. The website for the Museum has a wonderful collection of historical photographs which I recommend for browsing!

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On this occasion there was also an  exhibition of paintings by Czech painters who had worked in Brittany.

Exhibition by Czech painters in the Regional Museum, Quimper

Jan Zrzavy: Bateaux au repos, 1935

Jan Zrzavy: Bateaux au repos, 1935

Jan Zrzavy: Ploumanac'h, 1930

Jan Zrzavy: Ploumanac’h, 1930

This is just a taste of what the Museum can offer, and we moved on, down the River Odet, to Locmaria to visit the Henriot Pottery Factory and adjacent pottery museum. Quimper is particularly known for its pottery, and pottery and craft studios have existed in Locmaria since the Middle Ages, and in 1685 Jean Baptiste Bousquet founded HB Quimper, which, after mergers with other companies in Locmaria, would eventually become today’s HB Henriot Faïences. Pottery is handpainted, with a wide range of traditional designs, but contemporary artists and designers contribute to stunning tableware and display pieces. We took a guided tour in the factory and it was fascinating! The nearby Pottery Museum is also interesting, with some fine, detailed pieces.

Traditional pieces of Henriot pottery, handpainted

Traditional pieces of Henriot pottery, handpainted

Fine display piece in the Quimper Pottery Museum

Fine display piece in the Quimper Pottery Museum

Across the road from the pottery and museum is the Priory of Locmaria. The nave of the church dates to the 11C, the oldest part of the church which continued to be modified in the following centuries – the cloister is 1670, and the Priory also dates to the 17C. The Priory Gardens are alongside the River Odet and about to be renovated, so I look forward to seeing them in a year’s time!

The Nave of the Church of Locmaria

The Nave of the Church of Locmaria

The Cloister of the Church of Locmaria

The Cloister of the Church of Locmaria

The Church of Locmaria, with the remains of the Cloister

The Church of Locmaria, with the remains of the Cloister

The Priory Gardens, Locmaria

The Priory Gardens, Locmaria

The Priory Gardens, Locmaria, and the River Odet

The Priory Gardens, Locmaria, and the River Odet

Quimper is a fascinating town, with wonderful museums, art galleries, markets, and churches. There is also a very good walk through the town with Wendy Mewes in one of her excellent books, Walks in Finistère. Do spend time in this lovely town if you are in Brittany!

Further information
An interesting article on the pottery and priory, and travelling solo
The Priory of Locmaria