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Quimper, cultural city

Quimper, the capital of the “department” of Finistère and also of this area known as French Conrnwall (“Cornouaille”), is a thousand-year-old city recognised for its artistic and historic significance through the label "Ville d'Art et d'Histoire". It comprises three ancient centres:

  • The site known as Locmaria with its 18th century church, former Priory and adorable medieval garden on the riverbanks;
  • The Bishop’s Town where you’ll find the magnificent Saint-Corentin Cathedral, a gem of Gothic Breton architecture, flanked by the former Bishop’s Palace and its own walled gardens;
  • The Town of the Dukes of Brittany with its colourful timbered buildings leaning precariously over one another, Saint-Mathieu church with its splendid stained glass, and the winding alleyways.

Winner of the ‘Floral Town’ prize since 2003, Quimper is always a pleasure to visit. The town is unusually crossed by two rivers, one of which is the Odet, rated as one of the most beautiful waterways in France. A simple walk along the riverside with its flowers and pretty bridges becomes a photo opportunity.

On such a walk, you’ll pass the striking Théâtre Max Jacob with its formal gardens, the Rue Sainte-Catherine, and you can even continue to the beautiful estate of the Château de Lanniron nearby.

Quimper boasts four permanent museums: the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts), the Musée Départemental Breton (Breton culture and history), the Centre d'Art Contemporain (Contemporary art), and the Musée de la Faïence (focussing on the iconic local pottery).

Faïence is a style of pottery particular to Quimper, hand-made and hand-painted and the production centre of Henriot-Quimper is open to the public, as is the Musée de l'Alambic. Guided visits of the city itself are offered by the Tourist Office and will help you to understand why the city has been awarded the prestigious label of "Ville d'Art et d'Histoire". Quimper’s two theatres (Cornouaille and Max Jacob) have a year-long programme of quality shows that are as varied as they are fascinating, while the city hosts other events, shows and concerts throughout the year.


As the commercial capital of the region, Quimper has a wide and varied range of shops, serving over 300 000 residents, and its pedestrian streets have evocative names: Place au Beurre, rue du Sallé, rue des Boucheries, rue Kéréon (cobblers).

An ideal place for window shopping and for spoiling yourself, Quimper has many pedestrian zones lined with shops selling clothes, jewellery, accessories, housewares and more. On the outskirts there are also shopping centres and factory outlet stores for some of the big names in the region (Faïenceries Henriot-Quimper, Armor Lux) and naturally in the centre there is the covered market hall ‘Halles Saint-François’ (with a food market every day), a large outdoor market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and various localised markets including an organic market on Friday afternoons in Kerfeunteun.

Every year on the first Thursday of August, you’ll see signs for the ‘Taol Balenn’, when local shops set out their wares at discount prices. You’ll also notice that Quimper has many biscuit producers and local specialities, chocolate-makers and of course plenty of restaurants, crêperies and coffee-shops.

Quimper Events

There are a dozen festivals held here each year, there’s a national venue, plenty of sports facilities and smaller venues to ensure you have plenty to keep you occupied and entertained during your stay.

One of the rather different activities you might choose is known as the ‘Descente de l'Odet’, taking a boat trip down the river from Quimper to the coastal town of Bénodet.

Video on Quimper and its surrounding areas

In this video, Élodie Poiraud - a specialist Guide who is passionate about history - shares her own insights into Quimper. This cathedral city of Art and History is a jewel on the banks of the River Odet, hailed as the prettiest river in France. There’s the area of Creac'h Gwen that is a delight for walkers and sporty types (jogging, archery, climbing, tennis, kayaking and dinghy sailing), the heart of the city itself with the magnificent twin-spired Saint-Corentin Cathedral, the quarters of Locmaria that is home to the iconic hand-painted Henriot Faïence pottery and Pascal Jaouen embroidery and of course the beautiful architecture of Château de Lanniron, Plomelin and Locronan, which regularly welcomes film crews to its cobbled streets...


Ville fleurieVille d'art et d'histoireTourist Office - Tel. : +33 (0)2 98 53 04 05

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Top-of-the-range places
Finistère trails

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