Archive for July 23rd, 2020

July 23, 2020

Quimper, and the rivers!

Ok so what city at least in France can be without a river? It seems they go hand and hand even if my town does not have one; most do.  I have come to sublime Quimper several times over the years and several posts in my blog; however, once again I seem to have skipped the Odet river that passes thru the center! It is time I remedy this and therefore, will tell you a bit on the Odet river of Quimper, in the Finistére dept 29 of my lovely Bretagne.

First, a bit about the Odet river itself.

The Odet or Oded in Breton is a 63 km long Breton coastal river which originates in the Black Mountains at Saint-Goazec, at a place called Yeun-ar-Vouster, and ends in the Atlantic ocean between Sainte- Marine and Bénodet. The town it passes by are from end to beginning : Bénodet, Combrit (including Sainte-Marine), Clohars-Fouesnant, Gouesnach, Plomelin, Quimper, Ergué-Gabéric, Briec-de-l’Odet, Landudal, Elliant, Langolen , Coray, Trégourez, Leuhan, Saint-Goazec , the source!. The Odet watershed belongs to the area of influence of the town of Quimper, the main town crossed. For a long time, Quimper was supplied mainly by sea, then up the Odet river, only the largest ships unloading at Bénodet.

Quimper steir river locks rue de pen ar steir dec19

This part of the Odet valley, with wooded banks, subject to the influence of the tide and navigable, has attracted for many centuries aristocratic families, then in the 19C and 20C industrialists and artists, whose mansions or manor houses and large villas with breathtaking views of the Odet river were built, creating a veritable Riviera. The company “Les Vedettes de l’Odet” ensures from Bénodet or Quimper cruises on the maritime part of the Odet, allowing to see the beautiful residences and the landscapes of this valley, as well as towards the Ïle Glénan islands; which are paradise on earth.

More on the Les Vedettes de l’Odet here: Official Vedettes de l’Odet boat cruises

The Tourist office of Quimper on the sailboat Le L’Ougre de l’Odet ride on the Odet: Tourist office of Quimper on the sailboat l’ougre de l’odet

Now a bit of history on the crossing, passarelles, ponts of the Odet river in Quimper.

The numerous passarelles or footbridges were not a place for walking like today but private accesses: the Tanguy footbridge, named after the old Crêpes Dentelles factory in 1936, the Guével footbridge of the old tannery in 1905, the footbridge Pastor of the old girls’ school in 1884, the Traounez footbridge named after a dental surgeon, the Bolloré footbridge leading to the family mansion. The Canet-Mallejacq, Phalange d´Arvor and Liot footbridges are references to simple wealthy residents of Quimper. It was not until the 1960s that these eight private bridges fell under the municipal fold,   and therefore, open to the public.


And some of my favorites passarelles (footbridges) of Quimper over the years

The passarelle Max Jacob, the poet in love with his Quimper: As he said   “It is a small town but there is a river! Max Jacob was born on July 12, 1876 at 14 rue du Parc, on the banks of the Odet. No wonder the bridge built in 1961 between Place de la Résistance and the axis to Saint-Mathieu district was dedicated to him and that a bridge was then created to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his tragic death in Drancy.


The pont Pissette :   The mesh parapets of the Pissette bridge are gently adorned with the same love padlocks that the famous Parisian bridge until recently welcomed. This first passarelle or footbridge of Quimper is located at the crossroads of the Odet and Stéïr rivers, and is also a story of feelings. We have to go back to the 19C and thank Napoleon III. Because it is for the emperor of the Second Empire that the Pissette bridge came out of the water. In 1858. Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte continues, accompanied by his wife Eugénie de Montijo. The monarchs makes a stopover in Quimper. Problem: its access is far from easy. The town, then decided to build a wooden footbridge spanning the Odet from rue du Parc, to connect the city center directly to the battlefield. In 1864, it was rebuild in brick and cast iron to make it permanent. It is called Pont Pissette. It would also be more correct to speak of passarelle Pissette, since it is for the exclusive use of pedestrians.

The passarelle de Cap Horn. The presence of a bridge in Locmaria is attested in 1360. In 1388, we find mention of annuities paid to Marguerite, daughter of Aimeric de Locmaria on gardens and orchards located “Pen Ar Pont” (Breton for end of the Breton bridge) in Locmaria. The Locmaria bridge was destroyed or burnt down because it had to be rebuilt in March 1596. This revolving bridge remained in use throughout the 17C. On an unknown date, a stone pile was added to it on which the bridge deck rested. In the 19C, the City of Quimper generally rented for six years and by contract the collection of the rights to collect from the water passage established on the Odet river in Locmaria. Despite the dangers of daily crossings, ferry transportation remained very popular until the 1950s. The construction of a new footbridge at Cape Horn sealed the fate of the old trade of smuggler in Quimper. It was finally until 1954 that the positions of one and the other changed and that after an interruption of 228 years a new permanent bridge again connected the districts of Cape Horn and Locmaria.

The Passarelles or footbridges no longer have the utilitarian role they had before 1965, when Boulevard Dupleix was opened. Forged doors and magnolias remind us that they were, before that date, so many entrances to private gardens. These footbridges now give the city center an undeniable charm! Indeed!


For reference, the tourist office of Quimper on its heritage: Tourist office of Quimper on its heritage

The city of Quimper on its must sees: City of Quimper on its must sees

Hope you enjoy the footbridges over the Odet and Steir rivers at Quimper,a very pretty town of Bretagne.

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

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July 23, 2020

Quimper : musée départemental Breton!

And let me give you the one two combination of museums of Quimper. This for me is the first , for the tradition, history and folklore of Bretagne and especially the dept 29 of Finistére. Again, I have come here several times and a favorite city, yet I find myself surprise not to have written about these jewels before in detail. Therefore, here is my take on the musée départemental Breton de Quimper! One of the best museum I have gone in, and have done my share. An example of what the deep France can do better than Paris.

Quimper musee departemental breton front aug19

The musée départemental Breton de Quimper,or the Departemental Breton Museum. It was created in 1846 by the Archaeological Society of Finistère, and installed in the former palace of the bishops of Cornouaille, near the Saint-Corentin Cathedral (see post). It presents archeology and the arts (sculpture, costumes, furniture, earthenware, stained glass, painting, etc.) from the department 29 of Finistère. A new thing that we took advantage of is that on weekends from October to May is free admission for all. It has wonderful treasures of Brittany inside, with a beautiful stairs and ceilings in neo gothic style. All is divided in themes, from pre history and antiquity, to popular Breton arts, furniture, ceramics, as faience of Quimper!! Many tables have hand touch exhibits whre you can actually touch the ancient vase ,pots, utensil etc. A magnificent room of Breton fashion , a must to see alone.

Quimper musee dept breton courtyard jan11

It occupies the former palace of the Cornouaille bishops, a building adjoining the cathedral built from the 16C to the 20C. The oldest part is the Tower of Rohan, built in 1507 for Bishop Claude de Rohan, in the Renaissance style of the reign of Louis XII. It contains a spiral staircase, which ends with a carved wooden ceiling in the shape of a palm tree. The decor of the perimeter of this oak covering is entirely carved: scrolls, foliage and real or imaginary animals (lion, pig, fox, etc.) as well as enigmatic characters (wild man, acrobat, etc.). Restored between 1990 and 2001, the rooms are arranged in a chronological and thematic distribution divided into four sections: archeology and ancient arts from Prehistory to the 18C; costumes and their representations by artists from 19-20C; wood carving and furniture from the 15C to 20C; and Quimper ceramics from the 18C to 20C.

Quimper musee dept breton tour rohan inside jan11

The tour of the permanent collections begins with an evocation of Prehistory and Protohistory through some major pieces such as the gold torso or belt) of Irvillac from the Bronze Age, and the gold necklace of Tréglonou from the Iron Age which are among the most important examples of protohistoric silverware discovered in France. The following section, organized around the monumental pavement of the thermal baths of a Gallo-Roman villa, is devoted to the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the Gallo-Roman city of the tribe of Osismes, Gallic people whose territory roughly covered that of the current Finistère: monumental profane and religious sculpture such as the so-called four gods stele, Hercules, Neptune of Douarnenez or domestic, protective deities of the hearth, Gallic and Gallo-Roman ceramics, toilet accessories, gold coins from Osisms, Gallo-Roman monetary treasure, etc.

quimper musee dept breton furnitures feb13

quimper musee dept breton tombs feb13

The following rooms on the ground floor are dedicated to the arts of the Middle Ages and Roman capitals 12C; and the tombstone of Grallon de Kervastar 14C; bas-reliefs with angels 15C, etc., Renaissance such as the mausoleum lying of the knight Troïlus of Mondragon, around 1550; Holy Trinity with Angels musicians early 16C, etc. , and classical and baroque periods such as the set of church sculpture; mausoleum of Yves Le Bervet du Parc by the sculptor Roland Doré 17C etc. Two large stained glass windows from the 16C bear witness to the double influence of Italian and Germanic   on stained glass art during the Breton Renaissance of the 16C and 17C. A display case is reserved for the monetary treasury of Saint-Pol-de-Léon, a set of 14C gold coins presented with the terracotta money boxes in which it has come down to us. The art of goldsmithing is represented by pieces from the 15C like a book-reliquary, 16C of Quimper silver and vermeil cup, and 17-18C such as wedding cups, etc.

quimper musee dept breton sculptures feb13

On the second level, the four rooms of the former bishop’s suite 18C have retained their original paneling and parquet. They are dedicated to costumes from Finistère in the 19-20C. Thirty models present a selection of clothing styles from the Pays Bigouden, Pays de Quimper, Pays de Fouesnant, Douarnenez, etc. and their ornamentation like embroidery, lace, jewelry, etc. This section also contains a collection of works by sculptors and painters, observers of costumes and traditions from Finistère to the 19-20C such as sculptures, and paintings , etc.  Two other rooms, one of which located in the Rohan tower is decorated with 18C frescoes, retracing the evolution of furniture and woodcarving from the 15C to the 20C: sculptures of facades of medieval houses, Renaissance table, chests and fronts of chests, linen press, wedding cupboards, dresser, closed bed, etc. The section also includes examples of modern Breton furniture developed in the interwar period.

quimper musee dept breton women fashion feb13

On the third level, the section devoted to Quimper earthenware offers a collection whose constitution began in the middle of the 19C and has never stopped since: luxury earthenware from the 18C, pottery and popular earthenware from the 18C ,19C and 20C, diversity of learned styles after 1870, botanical decorations and invention of decorations with Breton characters. A set of display cases is devoted to the renewal of ceramic art in Quimper during the period between the two world wars.

quimper musee dept breton custumes feb13

quimper musee dept breton men fashion feb13

The earthenware rooms overlook the space where the temporary exhibitions regularly are organized by the museum are held. This is a must to see museum in France and of course Bretagne. You will learn much of the history and customs of this region and go home with great fulfillment. Hope you enjoy it as we did.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and is a must are

The official Breton departamental museum in French: Breton museum of Quimper

The city of Quimper on the Breton departamental museum in French: City of Quimper on the Breton museum

The tourist office of Quimper on the Breton departamental museum in English: Tourist office of Quimper on the Breton museum

And there you go folks a superb museum that must be visited to know the history of Bretagne more so than France. This is a wonderful site in a very lively and pretty district of Quimper. You all come to see the Musée Départemental Breton ok.

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

July 23, 2020

Quimper and its Fine Arts Museum!

Here I go again with some information on one of my favorite cities in my lovely region of Bretagne. Of course, I have written several pieces on it in my blog, but fell that the Fine Arts Museum which is gorgeous have been left out mostly. Therefore, here is my take on the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper. And of course, in dept 29 of Finistére!

The Quimper Museum of Fine Arts  was born in 1864, thanks to Count Jean-Marie de Silguy who bequeathed his entire collection to his hometown, on the sole condition that a museum be built there to accommodate his paintings and drawings. Today it is one of the main art museums in the west of France, presenting rich collections of French painting (especially from the 19C), Italian, Flemish and Dutch from the 14C to the present day.

quimper musee beaux arts feb13

The museum is built on the main square of Quimper and opposite the Cathedral on adjoining plots of the new city/town hall acquired by the City in 1866.  Work began in 1869 and the museum was inaugurated on August 15, 1872. Behind the intact facade, the museum has been completely redone according to resolutely modern architectural choices, based on the principle of transparency, allowing better exposure of the works and a significant gain in surface area. Since the renovation, 700 works are on permanent display while a specific space dedicated to temporary exhibitions has been created. The museum also has an auditorium, a reception service and a bookshop-shop.

You have the wonderful Musée des Beaux-Arts or fine arts museum, small but can rival with any. It is very well located in city center just opposite the Cathedral(see post). It has a wonderful boutique shop for gifts and books ,paintings etc. You get a map of the museum and booklet, the map show you in sequence all the rooms to visit , and they are panels upon entering the room telling you what is showing.

The entrance on ground level here (1 FL USA) you have the Breton paintings, and the history of the museum. A room in the museum is dedicated to Max Jacob, a poet and local hero ,from Quimper who died in 1944 after been taken to Nazi concentration camp as he was of Jewish beliefs. There are many works by Jacob himself (gouaches, pencils, engravings, etc.) and his entourage: notably by Jean Cocteau (drawings), Picasso (three etchings), Roger Toulouse and Amedeo Modigliani (drawing). Also, Jean Moulin, a senior official before becoming one of the emblematic figures of the French Resistance, exercised the function of sub-prefect at Chateaulin from 1930 to 1933. During his stay in Brittany, he met Max Jacob and, on his advice, illustrated the collection of poems by Tristan Corbière, “Armor”, extract from Amours Jaune (yellow loves). It is under the pseudonym of Romanin that the eight engravings are signed. At the heart of the museum, in a specially designed space, is exposed an exceptional set of paintings by Jean-Julien Lemordant , a Breton painter, which once decorated the dining room of the Hôtel de l’Epée in Quimper.

quimper musee beaux arts bataille de trente feb13

quimper musee beaux arts calvaire breton feb13

The first floor (2nd FL USA) you continue the sequence to the Flemish artists and Dutch from the end of the 16C to early 18C (Rubens, Jordaens etc); You visit Rodin and the sculptures, then the Italian paintings from end 14C to the 18C (Reni,Solimena,Bartolo di Fredi,etc); go on to the French paintings from end of 17C to the early 19C ( Mignard, Fragonard, Meynier, etc), you go thru a rooms of drawings 16-19C, then French Paintings from the 19C (Chasseriau, Corot, Boudin, etc), you visit the Pont Aven school and the Nabis (Bernard,Sérusier, Maufra, Gauguin, de Haan, Moret, Denis etc); then after pont aven (delaunay,Gruber, Gromaire, etc); Breton paintings of the 20C (Tal Coat,Bazaine, Manessier, Le Moal etc); the room of Lemordant recreating the mansion of the L’épée in Quimper created between 1906 and 1909 by Lemordant.

quimper musee beaux arts port of Brest feb13


In general, the graphic arts cabinet contains drawings from the main European schools of painting, the 2,000 drawings bequeathed by de Silguy also forming the bulk of the collection here. The fund is dominated by the French, and the Italian school and, to a lesser extent. Northern and Spanish schools are very little represented. The legacy of Count de Silguy included 12,000 engravings, which still constitute the core of the museum’s collection of engravings today.

quimper musee beaux arts cloister MSM feb13

Some webpages as usual by me to help you plan your trip here and it is worth the detour are

More official info on the Fine Arts museum in English here: Official Fine Arts Museum of Quimper

The city of Quimper on the Fine Arts Museum in French: City of Quimper on the Fine Arts Museum

The tourist office of Quimper on the Fine Arts Museum in English: Tourist office of Quimper on the Fine Arts Museum

And there you go folks , a very nice worthwhile museum to visit right in the middle of all wonderful about Quimper, in the Finistére breton. Remember to visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper.

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

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