Archive for October 17th, 2018

October 17, 2018

Beautiful fortified Quimperlé!

Coming back to a dear city to me and only 50 km or about 32 miles from my house in neighboring Finistére dept 29 of Brittany; this is Quimperlé!

I have written before on it of course, and plenty to see here, I like to give an update and a bit more on the history I like. Its a prosperous city with a past to the sea and unfortunately some floodings but always comes back like a strong fortified town it is also. The tradition with horses is big here as well.

Let me tell you a bit more on beautiful fortified Quimperlé!

Quimperlé the Breton name of the city is Kempere. The name of Kempere comes from the Breton word kember which means confluence and the river Ellé. Indeed the Ellé and the Isole converge at the height of Quimperlé to give birth to the Laïta, a long ria of 15 km subjected to the tide, which was navigable and allowed Quimperlé to be a sea port. Quimperlé is mentioned for the first time in 1038 under the name Kemperlensem (then in 1050 of Villa Kemperelegium, 1082 Kemperele, 11C Anauroth Kemper, 1135 Camperelegio, 1154 Kimberlik, 1160 Karger , 1220 Kemperele). Nowadays, the name in Breton is written kempere

The N 165 expressway crosses the municipality from east to west. It crosses the valley of the Laïta by a viaduct about 1 km south of the city and Quimperlé is served by two exchangers, that of Kervidanou to the west, that of Kerfleury to the east, a half-exchanger also serves the city center, only in the sense to or from Lorient.

Quimperlé is typically a bridge city, born to the place where the first bridge over the estuary was traditionally located, at the boundary between the maritime part and the fluvial part of the valley. It was also a port, the existence of which is attested from antiquity; Destroyed by the Vikings in 878, the activity subsequently resumed, notably after the creation of the Abbey of St. Croix in the 12C and remained relatively prosperous until the 19C, exporting grains, wines, salt, spices and limestone for construction . Beautiful merchant houses, dating from the 16C to the beginning of the 19C, testify to this activity; Quimperlé then traded with Flanders, England and the ports of the Atlantic coast to Madeira; On the “Quay” (now Quai Brizeux), the ground floor of the houses was occupied by the warehouses welcoming grains, salts and wines, the living quarters being located on the upper floors

A high city(Ville Haute) and a low city (Ville Baisse) are traditionally distinguished. The lower town (aristocratic and religious center) developed around the Church of Saint-Colomban, of which there is only one façade and the Benedictine abbey of Sainte-Croix de Quimperlé, while the high city developed around the church Saint-Michel and its place (center of commercial activity).

On the 13C, Duke John I Le Roux (Duke 1237-1286) built ramparts around the lower town to protect it. A moat connecting the Ellé river and the isolé river was dug for a girdle of water. He also founded, through his wife Blanche of Navarre, an abbey of preacher Brothers (Dominicans), later called “White Abbey” (probably in remembrance of Blanche of Navarre, unless it was in reference to the color of the suit of Monks), intended to limit the power of the abbey of Sainte-Croix and established in the east of the city on land dependent on the bishopric of Vannes and around which is established the new district of Bourgneuf.

During the war of the Succession of Brittany, Quimperlé supported the Pretender Jean de Montfort. He died around 1345, as a result of his wounds at the siege of Quimper. He was buried in the Abbey church of the Dominicans (White Abbey) of Quimperlé, where he has his tomb.

In 1505, Duchess Anne of Brittany travelled to Quimperlé. In August 1594, the city housed a Spanish garrison led by Juan de Aguila who soon afterwards went to burn nearby Rosporden.

The monument to the dead of Quimperlé bears the names of 342 soldiers and sailors who died for France during WWI. The monument to the dead of Quimperlé bears the names of 51 people at least dead for France during WWII. Among them were many resistance fighters who died in deportation, for example Auguste Génot, who died in deportation as well as four members of his family, his wife Jeanne (gassed in February 1945 in Ravensbrück), his daughters Annie (died as a result of her deportation in April 1945 in Bergen-Belsen) and Marie (gassed in February 1945 in Ravensbrück) and her son Eugène Genot (died on 1 March 1945 in Neuengamme); Still others died in deportation as Eugene le Grand (died on 2 May 1945 in Bergen-Belsen), Pierre Lemée (died on 3 March 1945 in Nordhausen), and Mathurin Tibullus (died at sea in Lubeck Bay when he had just been released from the concentration camp of Neuengamme), too, such as the Genot family, members of the Turma-Vengeance group or Hervé the Helgouach (died on 7 February 1945 in Schandelah). Julien Mauduit, whose name is not found on the monument to the dead of Quimperlé, was also a resistant, arrested in Moëlan-sur-Mer and died on 22 February 1944 in Buchenwald.

Some of the nice things to see here are:

The Abbey of Sainte-Croix de Quimperlé is a Benedictine abbey, founded in 1029 or 1050, by the Count of Cornouaille, Alain Canhiart. It is, with the Church of Lanleff, in the Côtes-d’Armor, the only church in Brittany to have a circular plan, modelled on that of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. This plan has, moreover, the form of a Greek cross. Sainte-Croix is the highest-level Romanesque church in France.


The Church of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption is the former chapel of the bourgeois community of the city: its nave, dating from the 13C, and in a primitive Gothic style. The building, also known as Saint-Michel, is a construction of the 13C and 16C, surmounted by a square tower.


The White Abbey is the former Dominican convent. Founded in 1265, by Duke John I, it closes in 1790 and is purchased as a national property, serves as a quarry of stones, but the buildings of the 16C are still partially preserved, as well as the portal of the 15C.. It suffered destruction during the French revolution: destroyed church and conventual buildings disfigured. Sisters settled there at the beginning of the 19C and, since 1960, the places housed the order of the Daughters of Jesus of Kermaria. The Saint-Joseph chapel is built from 1932 to 1935, and is decorated with stained glass windows. The Ursuline convent was also sold as a national property in 1793. All during the French revolution.


The private hotels of the rue Brémond d’Ars and rue Gorrequer, including wood-framed houses. The Brémond Hotel in Ars.  The Hotel Akinyemi du Christi.  Hotel Bréart de Boisanger. The “House of The Archers” (Ti ar Waregerien) is a wood-framed house with a 16C façade on the street.

Then ,we walk by the Chapelle de Notre Dame des Sept Douleurs or Ursulines dating from the 17C  with a panoramic view of the city and now hosting cultural events in the city, and still imposing!


The presidial was a building built in 1653, on the model of the neighbouring house (on the left) , on the ground floor, the crowd (covered market) and, upstairs, the town community and the sénéchaussée (Royal Court). From the building, all disappeared, except only one beautiful stone staircase, two flights, which included access to the prison (house next to the right). Note that there has never been a presidial in Quimperlé. The room at the back of the staircase, of more recent construction, is used as a temporary church, during the restoration of the abbey Church of St. Croix, and serves, at present, as a municipal place of exhibitions.


The Frémeur hospital is the last hospital of medieval structure still existing in the west of France. The chapel of the hospital, called Chapelle Saint-Eutrope, is a characteristic medieval hospital chapel: small but very high in order to allow the patients to hear religious ceremonies from the stands or from their beds. The Frémeur Hôpital and Chapelle de Saint Eutrope dating from the 14C.  The ground floor (1st) was the women floor, then upstairs the men, the attic was reserved for contagious patients , and a chapel on each floor.  The hospital is the last medieval one in the west of France, and was used until 1976. You can go down to the quays of the river Laîta or  the route of Saint James of Compostella.


The Lovignon Bridge (17C), also known as the ornate bridge, had six gothic arches, of which only two were left, one at each end; The four arches, destroyed during the floods of 1746, are replaced by two large middies arches, with important fore-beaks. The bridge keeps its old structure in the back. The railway viaduct that crosses the Laïta dates from 1862.


We did took a ride by the train station or gare, nice to know it is walking distance to all the above.


A beautiful city to see and enjoy it as we do, hope it helps your come on over! See Quimperlé!

Some webpages in addition to my previous posts to help you enjoy Quimperlé are

City of Quimperlé on heritage

Tourist office of Quimperlé

Tourist office dept Finistére on Quimperlé

Now you are all set , remember Brittany is the 3rd most visited region of France by tourist even if stay mostly domestic and some British.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 17, 2018

Gorgeous Quimper at Finistére!

Another dandy from my area this one on neighboring department 29 of Finistére and ,also, some posts already done about it in my blog. I like to give you a bit more on history on gorgeous traditional Quimper!

This one is about 96 km or 59 mi from my house! Lovely ride along the N165 expressway direction Brest. Full of traditional Breton history and customs , enjoy the ride once again! Also, direct TGV trains from Paris Montparnasse here, my route!

Quimper and its region, the Glazik country possessed a traditional costume worn from the French Revolution until the 1950’s. For men, the top of the suit was usually blue or black. Glazig means little blue in the Breton language. The origin of the use of this blue sheet seems to be the availability on the markets of Quimper of sheets stocks used hitherto for the manufacture of the uniforms of the imperial troops. The color rained and the stocks were massively used, until the hue gave its name to the country. The top consisted of a white or clear shirt  with long sleeves which was formerly of flax, hemp or more recently cotton. The shirt was coated with a jacket (Jiletenn in Breton language) of long-sleeved wool sheet Also, covered with the most recent velvet fashions, and embroidered with vivid colors at certain times and for families of a certain financial ease. It was closed on the front by two rows of buttons. The long-sleeved jacket was then covered with a short-sleeved jacket (Chupenn in Breton language) that was not buttoned but also covered with velvet and embroidered.

For the bottom of the men’s suit, it is black or dark striped trousers or bragou (puffy pant in Breton language) that were worn according to the times. The feet were shod with wooden hooves (botoù-koad in the Breton language) or black leather shoes (botoù-lêr). When the bragoù were worn, they were in combination with Gaiters (botreoù) of wool or leather on the calves. Flannel or leather Belts (Gouriz) were also worn at certain times or by some affluent populations. In addition, the men wore a black felt hat covered with black velvet ribbons (Tog Voulouz) that extended to the back in guides, embroidered or beaded for the most affluent. The various costumes in the fashion Glazik are currently worn and presented occasionally by various groups of Breton dances (Celtic circles) of Quimper as Eostiged ar Stangala de Kerfeunteun, Danserien Kemper of Ergué-Armel, Mederien Penhars of Penhars, Keltiad and of the country Glazig (Celtic circle Gwen-ha-du de Landrévarzec) especially on the occasion of the Breton Festivals of Quimper (Cornouaille) or the surrounding area. The Cornouaille Festival is usually on the third week of July.

Quimper has 9 chapels, and 8 churches.. In Breton, the city is called Kemper.

Saint-Corentin Cathedral is located in the city center.. It is Gothic in style (13C-19C). Burned in 1720, the two neo-Gothic arrows were rebuilt in 1854 and rise to 77 meters altitude. The Priory Church of Locmaria is Romanesque in style and dates from the 11C-12C. The Romanesque building was remodeled in the 15C and restored. Inside, very sober, one can see, in the left aisle, three tombstones of the 14C, 15C  and 17C and, on the beam of glory, a Christ in robe. In the right-hand side, a door gives in the garden of the ancient Benedictine Priory (16-17C) which maintains a gallery of the cloister of 1669 and two arcs of the 12C.


The old Quimper (ramparts, old houses, whose house of the Caryatids, Rue du Guéodet extends in front of the Cathedral, between the Odet and the Steir river canals. The rue du Parc along the Odet leads to the quay of Steir. This small tributary, now ducted and covered before its confluence, offers a vast pedestrian area. The city center is visited by the small train.

The Quimper Museum of Fine Arts is located near the Cathedral. The Breton Departmental Museum (archaeology, ethnology, antique furniture and costumes, prints, earthenware) in the former Episcopal palace. The Museum of Earthenware. Located on the edge of the Odet, the museum is set in the former Porquier house built in 1797. Rich of a fund of nearly two thousand five hundred pieces exhibited by rolling, it traces, on two floors, several centuries of the history of Quimper and its earthenware. The Théâtre de Cornouaille, for the national scene, and the Max-Jacob Theatre, 6 Boulevard Dupleix,are nice venues.

Place de la tour d’ Auvergne, stood before the WWII the monument erected in 1908, in memory of the Carhaisien the Tower of Auvergne, “first Grenadier of the Republic”, born in 1743, killed in Battle of Oberhausen in Germany on June 27, 1800 and author of various Works on the Breton language. This bronze statue of the sculptor Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire representing on the masonry pedestal the exhaling hero supported by a winged victory, occupied the center of the square, which now serves as a paid parking lot (Which is my favorite parking area now!). A granite replacement statue, the same character at the guard, by the sculptor Robert Michel, was erected after the war.

In the small space on the edge of the rue René-Madec, along the Stéir river was inaugurated in 2003 a stele surmounted by a bronze bust of the resistant Jean Moulin to mark the 60th anniversary of his death. In the 1930’s  he had occupied the duties of Deputy prefect of Châteaulin. It is the same for the stele to General de Gaulle, who uttered his last great public speech during his trip to Quimper in 1969.

The jardin de la Retraite (Retreat) is located in the city center inside the ramparts of the ancient fortified city. At that time it was the garden of a monastery. Species come from all over the world as some trees come from China, South Africa or New Zealand. Its total area is 5 800 m2. Overlooking this garden is the Jardin de la Paix ( peace). It was inaugurated in April 2013 and includes a set of Mediterranean plants on 900 m2. Also in the city center, near Mount Frugy, the Jardin du Théatre Max Jacobs (theater) has been gathering plants from China and the United States since the 19C. It extends over 6 400 m2. Finally, the Jardin de Locmaria (Priory Garden), located along the Odet river , near the historic district of Locmaria, includes 150 medieval plants in order to reproduce the garden at the time of Anne of Brittany. Its surface is 1 700 m2. Further downstream from the Odet, the Château de Lanniron has been home to French gardens since the 17C on 27 hectares.




Hope you enjoy the reading of a special traditional city of Brittany that is a must to visit. As have some posts on it already but never mind will give some webpages to help you further plan your visit here

City of Quimper on tourism

Tourist office of Quimper

Tourist office of Finistére on Quimper

Tourist office of Brittany on Quimper

There you go do enjoy Brittany, 3rd most visited region of France but mostly locals and the British lol! Hope it helps you come to this wonderful city of Quimper.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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