The Hôpital Frémeur/Chapelle Saint Eutrope of Quimperlé !

Again, in my road warrior trips in my Finistére dept 29 of my lovely Bretagne, we came back to the fortified City of Quimperlé, We have come here several times but there is always something new to see and enjoy, This time going to the upper town, we saw a building that look like a chapel and went for it, Pleasant surprise this was the Hôpital Frémeur and Chapelle Saint Eutrope ! Let me tell you a bit about it ; hope you enjoy the post as I.

Quimperle chapelle St Eutrope hospital Fremeur front oct22

At first ,part of the Frémeur Hospital would have been founded at the end of 14C, or even at the beginning of 15C. The monument thus houses under the same roof a hospital and a chapel. For the latter, it is the Saint-Eutrope Chapel dating from the 16C. It communicates directly with the patient wards. Last preserved medieval hospital in Bretagne ! Welcoming few able-bodied people, its chapel is very short but very high to allow the sick to hear mass from their beds, at each level of the hospital. The building was comprised of a farmhouse and a 14C chapel. The name “Frémeur” originates from the Breton word “froutmeur” which means big stream.

Quimperle chapelle St Eutrope hospital Fremeur side back oct22

The exact date of the foundation of the hospital is not known , In the 14C several leprosariums or “maladreries” are attested in the surroundings of the city, on the site of the current buildings. The proximity of the Dourdu river (or Frout Meur, large stream, transformed into Frémeur), would in fact plead in favor of the establishment of a hospital establishment. In the current state of research, we do not know if it is due to the generosity of the ducal family whose coat of arms (full ermine with a crown) appear, a little clumsily reused, in a dominant position compared to the other coats of arms present at the above the master window. In the absence of probative documents designating with certainty the abbots of Saint-Croix as founders, one cannot exclude the hypothesis of a ducal foundation which could have intervened between 1316 and 1491 in this part of the upper town where the great building site neighbor of the Notre-Dame de l’Assomption Church (see post) which comes from the patronage of Duke Jean V.

Quimperle chapelle St Eutrope hospital Fremeur side front oct22

The clearing of interior and exterior plaster, particularly at the level of the choir, could possibly confirm or invalidate the hypothesis of the existence of traces of an earlier building later included in a new construction. The circular columns of the basement are perhaps the vestiges, in place or reused, of the original establishment. The decorative elements (archs, doors and windows, niches, remains of fireplaces, sculpted elements) and the dates on the outside and inside dated 1523, joist upstairs room dated 1531 or 1537, as well as a large number of sculpted or painted coats of arms of noble families or corporations that remain to be identified, testify to the total reconstruction of the building at this time which coincides with the completion of the choir of the Notre Dame de l’Assomption Church with which the hospital chapel shares certain stylistic characteristics.

Until the end of the 17C, the ensemble probably did not undergo any major transformations. The date of 1662, also that of the royal ordinances requiring cities to create general hospitals, corresponds to an extension of the southern part of the building reserved for housing. A small cemetery located to the east of the choir, absent on the plan of 1679, is attested in 1764 and still appears on the cadastre of 1824. Around 1703, the addition of a building to the south, against the old rooms of sick, is undoubtedly accompanied by some interior alterations. Between 1874 and 1875, major restoration work which mainly affected the chapel (enlargement of bays, reworking of the framework, installation of painted paneling and high panelling). Neo-Gothic religious furniture also dates back to this period. After the construction, in 1899, of a new public hospital nearby (Hôpital Saint-Michel), the use of the treatment rooms was gradually abandoned, while the chapel continued its vocation as a place of worship. It keeps statues and altar from the 18C, sarcophagus from the former Church Saint Colomband ,great potrait of Saint Vincent of Paul showing the welcoming of children dated 1837 ; relics and wooden items neo Gothic from the 19C, The Chapel keeps an altar from the 19C ,as well as the ceiling of the oratory, main stained glass from the 19C showing Sacred Heart , and a statue of Saint Eutrope of the 19C.

In the 2nd half of the 18C entry into function of the hospital the sisters of La Sagesse who, the revolutionary period excluded, manage the hospital, then the hospice, until 1976, By 1825 , the whole was designated as Hospice Civil, By 1899 gradual decommissioning of the Frémeur hospital.

Own by the City of Quimperlé since 2002, the firsts work of renovation started in 2015,it had to be put back on its feet. It is now done since after two years of major restoration work, the Saint-Eutrope Chapel opened its doors to the public in 2018. The Frémeur Hospital building can only be visited from the outside.We parked at Place Saint Michel just between the hospital/chapel and the ND Church of my other post.

Quimperle place St Michel by ND de l'Assomption et chap st eutrope oct22

As can be seen on heritage days or an expo by the city ,not much written on the tourist/city sites, the info above comes from Heritage Brittany which I translated. More in French here:

The local Quimperlé Terre Océane tourist office on things to see in Quimperlé

The city of Quimperlé on the city identity

There you go folks, a dandy monument almost hidden, off the beaten path walk indeed and worth the hilly climb cobblestone street to see it. This is the fortified city of Quimperlé and the wonderful Hôpital Frémeur and Chapelle Saint Eutrope! 

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

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