Beautiful fortified Quimperlé!!

Indeed this is an old beautiful and fortified town of my lovely Bretagne. I like to update this introductory post on the town of Quimperlé, near me and hope you like it as I!

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 Bretagne; 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!

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 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). 

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 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 Bretagne, 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.

Some of the nice things to see here , and see posts on them are:

The Abbey of Sainte-Croix de Quimperlé (see post) 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 (see post) 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),(see post) 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 to help you enjoy Quimperlé are:

The Terre Océane Quimperle tourist office on Quimperlé:

The Finistére dept 29 tourist office on Quimperlé:

The city of Quimperlé on culture:

Now you are all set , remember Bretagne is the 3rd most visited region of France by tourist even if stay mostly domestic and some British. And of course, Quimperlé is a big part of it, hope you enjoy the introduction and seek specific posts on the city in my blog.

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

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