Capital of the Finistère department and former capital of La Cornouaille, Quimper has remained a very Breton town, with deeply rooted traditions. Situated at the meeting point between the Steïr and the Odet rivers, Quimper is a charming little town with an almost village-like atmosphere. Travel to Quimper to explore the ancient celtic soul of Brittany, perhaps the most legendary region in France.
On the Place St Corentin, at the heart of Quimper, the Cathedral of Saint-Corentin in Quimper is fiercely proud of its 15th century stained glass windows. This cathedral is the oldest building in Lower Brittany, dating from 1239. Behind the cathedral, you'll find the Departmental Museum of Brittany which will fully immerse you in the history, art and culture of Brittany over the centuries. Traditional costumes, furniture, pottery, and even hairstyles will reveal the folklore and traditions of this legendary civilisation. At the Museum of Fine Arts in Quimper, you'll find a noteworthy collection of Flemish and Dutch 17th century paintings. Discover more about Max Jacob, friend of Picasso, Cocteau and Modigliani. Here you'll find an entire room dedicated to the poet and painter.
Brittany is known for its cuisine and you can find out why: head to one of the many cheerful and welcoming restaurants in Quimper for a gastronomic experience. The Crêperie du Salle is a typically Breton crêperie where you can taste the delicious savoury buckwheat crêpes as well as wheat flour sweet crêpes. Ideal accompanied by a cup of Breton cider, try a crêpe Forestière (mushroom, smoked bacon and cheese) on an earthenware plate painted with a Breton scene. In the artisan quarter, Locmaria, at the Faïencerie H.B. Henriot pottery shop which has been going since 1690 you'll find a plethora of this hand-painted pottery if you'd like to take some home with you.
In summer, Quimper celebrates with the Festival de Cornouaille, a nine day festival of music and culture from around the world as well as from Brittany. Since it was set up in 1923, Joan Baez, Sinéad O'Connor, Buena Vista Social Club, Souad Massi and many others have performed at the festival. Quimper hosts another major musical festival, the Quimper Musical Weeks, dedicated to baroque, classic and contemporary music.
Take a boat trip down the Odet river toward the seaside resort of Bénodet, and you'll see some of the gorgeous coutryside with its deep forests and magnificent chateaux along the banks of the river. With a little imagination the legend of Tristan and Isolde will come to life here in this romantic setting.
Just 30 minutes from Quimper, you can visit the Ramparts of Concarneau, which protect one of the most beautiful bays on the Breton coast.
Station to station