Quimperlé, another city by a river from Finistére

Today was a challenge as it rains during the early night into early morning, and we got up a bit late, then decide what to do as we always do;late goers. I have heard of Quimperlé in Finistére and it was only about 45 minutes by car from my house so decided to give a shot, a visit , a taste of a visit.

Quimperlé belongs to the region of Cornouaille (Kernev, Bro Gernev in Breton) , and the name of Quimperlé comes in Breton Kemperle that is derived from  kemper, « confluent » and Ellé a river that goes into to create the Laita a river that goes into the ocean and allows the city ot have a port access. The city webpage is at http://www.quimperle.com/

The city t ourist office webpage is at http://www.quimperletourisme.com/ , see languages top right line.

The best way to reach it for me is by car of course, but it has TGV train service from Paris Montparnasse to the train station here, as well as TER Bretagne train service regional, webpage here http://www.ter-sncf.com/Regions/bretagne/Fr/Se_deplacer_en_TER/Pendant_mon_voyage/Guide_des_gares_TER/FichesHorairesLigneGare.aspx?nomGare=Quimperl%C3%A9&idLigne=tcm:16-22994

And excellent bus service which I saw in action with frequent passing of buses all over the city, the 1,20€ ticket can be purchase on the bus, here is the TBK bus site http://www.t-b-k.fr/titre_transport.html  Like I said I come by car on the N165 freeway and go into the exit Quimperlé Centre on the road D16 following Centre signs you reach the place St Michel with plenty of free parking in the white lanes. However, you have many parking parks all over the city many for free,not blue lines. Here is a name list in lower city or Basse Ville ;Parking de la Place Charles De Gaulle,Parking  de la Place du Barzaz Breizh,Parking de la Place des Anciennes fonderies Rivière,Parking de la rue du Bourgneuf,Parking de la rue Ellé, Parking du Cinéma, and on high city or Haute Ville, Parking de la Place Saint-Michel(mine), Parking de la Place Winston Churchill, -Parking de la Place Jean-Jaurès, and Parking du Coat-Kaër.

The market life is important from the 20C on and still goes on the main one at place Saint Michel, it goes on every Friday from 8H to 16H with a second smaller market all year on Sunday mornings from 8H to 13h around the Les Halles ,Place Hervo.

There are severail things to see here, from the historical Le Présidial, the building mostly gone now only is left with a front (see photo) it was built in 1683 to replace an covered market!. From the visual stairs shown you went into a terrace that give to the first floor, where the justice audience was carry out ,at the end of this salle or room you had two doors communicating to allow exchanges with the municipal elected officials . The found guilty were enclosed in the building next to the stairs that served as municipal prison.  At the revolution in 1791 the moved of the mayor’s office and the tribunal to the old abbey of Sainte Croix . The “Le Présidial” served as seat of the members of a society  that housed the loyals of the cult ephermeric . The Hall survived in the ground floor  until 1829.  The “présidial” served temporaly as a prison until 1868  after the belltower of the  Sainte-Croix after  1862. It was abandoned and became a work help or employment bureau  and later a place of meeting for the workers union of the  C.G.T. It has now house art expositions organise by the city of  Quimperlé.

The ruins of the church of Saint Colomban, there since the 6C!!! with a Celtic monastery following the rules of Irish Saint Colomban. Destroyed by the Vikings in 878AD. Some claimed to have been renovated by the year 1000AD and on the 13C a great Gothic church long of 50 meters was built. It still can be seen a piece from this period by the wall of the altar with sculptures and a facade renovated from the 15C. church of the lower city or basse ville it comes into diehard times and to ruins for lack of maintenance in early 19C. The modern cinema is there now in the old altar of the church now name Cinema La Bobine. (see photo).

Abbaye Blanche or white abbey, built around 1265AD by duke Jean Ier  to house a convent of the order of the  Dominicains to compete with the powerful Benedictines of the abbey church of Sainte Croix.  The name of the abbaye blanche or white abbey is probably in honor of the duke’s wife Blanche de Navarre( Navarra) or to the color of the clothes of the monks there.  and The convent was closed in  1790 (French revolution) , and the church disappeared and the monastiques symbols are progressively dismembered. In 1808  the ladies of the retirement of the sacre heart or  Sacré-Coeur. In 1887, a cult of  Saint-Joseph is established.  The sisters are replaced in 1960 by the daughters of  Jésus de Kermaria. The chapel of  Saint-Joseph is built between 1932- 1935. (see photo)

The Pont Fleurie, or flowery bridge,  crosses the river Ellé  at the level of the place Lovignon ,and was  until 1643 the only means of access to Quimperlé from the east.  It has been renovated by the 15C and the central arches done after the flooding of 1746 . The bridge was guarded by two towers on heavy thick walls surrounding the lower city or basse ville opening out with three portes or doors following to roads , Vannes-Quimper and Quimperlé-Carhaix. The ramparts were done between  1250 and 1270, became in ruins after the war of the 100 years and were erased for good by 1680.  The granite blocks salvage were then used to built the quai Brizeux bordering the river  Laïta. the bridge inspired several painters from the 19C on, and one Theodore Hersart de la Villemarque , wrote  Barzas-Breiz has a statue there by the pont and place.

And it was here that we had lunch , on the rue d’elle by the river, and pont Fleurie at the Créperie du Pont Fleurie, 5 rue Ellé, tel +33 (0) 2 98 96 19 35  I had a pizza cochonne with the local andouille sausage and potatoes, and cheese huge really for two persons, banana splits, coffee, the rest had more or less the same and two bottles of cider Patrick Gourlay local fermier for five persons 106€ great! must be back ,must you visit,the service was prompt and very friendly ,we spoked with servers and owner all nice. tourist office webpage for them http://www.quimperletourisme.com/index.php?page=creperies&cat=restaurant

By place St Michel you have the church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption, it was under renovation so we saw the outside, an old chapel built in two times, the nave dates from the 13C ,the tower, choir from 14C and the porches from the 15C. It was in ruins in 1373AD by one Du Guesclin during the war of succession for Brittany, the church rebuilt thanks to aid from duke Jean V, decorated flamboyant gothic and enlarged. Its new choir vouté in stones with its tower reaching 35 meters ( a arrow tower in wood covered in lead will have it at 60 meters). To come back to see the sanded sculptures in the nave done in  1430AD ,amongst the oldest in Brittany. It is ,also, commonly call church of St Michel as well by locals.

Ancient couvent des Ursulines, or old convent of the Ursulines, the foundation of the community of Ursulines in Quimperlé dates from 1652. They buy in 1665 the stables of  Bel-Air. First stone of the building is done in 1667  and the entry of the monastery is done by the Ursulines in 1674,  where they would teach to the daughters of the neglected . the success makes for enlarging of the buildings from the 18C to end of the 20C respecting the original architecture of the building.  the law  Combes, establishing the separation of State and Church in 1905  take them out.  The old monastery becomes a primary school for girls.  In WWII, the building is taken over by the Nazi security and police.  The Gestapo ,interrogates, torture in its walls. AFter the war, the building is return to a primary school teaching girls then to a collége or middle school  Jules Ferry. The chapel is today a place to have expos of comptemporary arts.

To see in second trip will be the Chapelle de Lothéa, the Hôpital Frémeur, and inside the Chapelle Saint-Eutrope, and the Maison des Archers all sound wonderful to see.

However, the one you must and I wont mine seeing again, it along is worth the trip to Quimperlé is the abbey church of Sainte Croix or Eglise abbatiale de Sainte Croix.  I left for last the best you know it as on everything ::)  Its a  jewel and in  splendid conditions. It is here that all started… It the most prestigious monument of the city of  Quimperlé, an abbey founded in the 11C by the Count de Cornouaille, Alain Canhiart following a miraculous cure. His church along with the abbey of  Lanleff, the only church in Brittany to have a circular plan copied as the one in the Saint Sepulcre of  Jérusalem.  It form a Greek cross, and has equally a form of a clover drawn as in the Saint-Sépulcre of Jérusalem. From the 11C it has been preserved its interior a wonderful museum of works of arts. The choir of monks is a one of the best realisations of Roman art, the crypt from the 11C is still preserved, a entombment of Christ sculpture in about 1500AD ,a retable from the 16C, a  Christ en robe(dressed Christ)  ,and a chaire from the 17C are ,also, remarquably there!!! A must to see!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some misc photos of the city, and the tourist office at pl Charles de Gaulle, to end this one day visit to a nice city ,in Finistère dept 29 next door neighbors.

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