Situated in western Brittany and the capital of the Finistère department, Quimper is the beating heart of Breton culture, with a rich and varied heritage.
Founded in the Middle Ages, Quimper was also the capital of the former Cornouaille region (historically connected with Cornwall in the UK). Rich in art and history, the city's heritage is very varied. Its most remarkable facet is its religious heritage: Quimper has numerous outstanding religious buildings, including Saint-Corentin Cathedral in the city centre which is a nationally listed historical monument, the Norman priory church of Locmaria and Kerfeunteun Trinity Church.
Quimper is also famous for its distinctive earthenware with traditional Breton decorative work depicting scenes of rural life and colourful flowers. The HB Henriot pottery is the most famous manufacturer and the last still in operation, and is open to the public from April to September. You can also visit the Museum of Earthenware, which traces the history of this craft that is so closely connected to the city's development.
For those with an interest in medieval architecture, Old Quimper is fascinating to stroll around. Situated close to the cathedral, between the River Odet and the River Steir, this district is notable for its narrow pedestrianised streets, half-timbered façades, old houses such as the Maison des Cariatides, and the remains of the city ramparts.
Quimper is also well known for being one of the capitals of contemporary Breton culture, together with Lorient. For instance, the city has numerous bagadoù (traditional music bands) and hosts a variety of events throughout the year that explore aspects of Breton culture. Undoubtedly the most famous of these is the Festival de Cornouaille, which takes place every July. This festival showcases a combination of traditional music and dance with more modern concerts, to ensure there is something for everyone.
For discovering the ancient Cornouaille region, this is the perfect place to start. Make the most of your holiday in Quimper!