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