The Odet River in the centre of Quimper
|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Ludovic Jolivet|
|• Land1||84.45 km2 (32.61 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||760/km2 (2,000/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||29232 / 29000|
|Elevation||−5–151 m (−16–495 ft)
(avg. 6 m or 20 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
The name Quimper comes from the Breton kemper "confluent" because the city was built on the confluence of the Steir, Odet and Jet rivers. It is at the intersection of Route National 165, D785, D765 and D783, 62 km (39 miles) northwest of Lorient, 181 km (112 mi) west of Rennes and 486 km (302 mi) west-southwest of Paris.
Quimper is the ancient capital of Kernev (French: Cornouaille), Brittany’s most traditional region, and has a distinctive Breton character. Shops and flags celebrating the region's Celtic heritage can be found throughout the city. Quimper was originally settled during Roman times. By AD 495, the town had become a Bishopric. It subsequently became the capital of the counts of Cornouailles. In the 11th century, it was united with the Duchy of Brittany. During the civil wars of the 14th century, the town suffered considerable ruin. In 1364, the duchy passed to the House of Montfort.
The town has a rustic atmosphere with footbridges spanning the rivers that flow through it. The Church of Locmaria, a Romanesque structure, dates from the eleventh century. The Cathedral of Saint-Corentin, with its Gothic-style façade, was constructed between the 13th and 16th centuries. It is the oldest Gothic structure in lower Brittany. Its two towers are 76 m (250 feet); its spires were added in the 19th century. The 15th century stained glass windows are exceptional. The cathedral is dedicated to Quimper's first bishop, Corentin.
To the cathedral's west are the pedestrianized streets of Vieux Quimper with a wide array of crêperies, half-timbered houses and shops. Near the Episcopal palace, which now holds the Musée départemental Breton (devoted to regional history, archaeology, ethnology and economy) are the ruins of the town's 15th-century walls. Nearby is the Musée des Beaux-Arts. The museum has a nineteenth-century façade and an entirely rebuilt interior. It houses a collection of 14th- to 21st-century paintings that includes works by Boucher, Corot, Oudry and Rubens along with canvases by such Pont-Aven School painters as Bernard, Denis, Lacombe, Maufra and Paul Sérusier.
The town's best known product is Quimper faïence pottery. It has been made here since 1690, using bold provincial designs of Jean-Baptiste Bousquet. The town’s eating establishments boast some of the best crêpes and cider in Brittany. The town has also been known for copper and bronze work, food items, galvanized ironware, hosiery, leather, paper and woollen goods.
Its inhabitants are called Quimpérois.
The municipality launched a linguistic plan through Ya d'ar brezhoneg on 6 February 2008.
In 2008, 4.61% of primary-school children attended bilingual schools.
Most French festivals are held in the summer season, but Quimper has a Winter Festival: Les Hivernautes. In the summer, you can also find concerts on street corners, with pipers and accordion players.
- Roman Catholic cathedral of Saint-Corentin. This cathedral has a remarkable bend in its middle.
- churches (Locmaria, Saint-Mathieu, Kerfeunteun, Ergue-Armel...)
- an old town centre with mediaeval fortifications and houses
- Musée des Beaux-Arts (near the cathedral)
- Cornouaille Festival: traditional dance (last week of July)
- Faience museum
- Statue of Gradlon looking in the direction of Ys, in the Saint Corentin Cathedral
Public transport in Quimper is provided by QUB. The network consists of 7 urban bus routes, and 16 suburban bus routes. During the summer months of July and August, an additional "beach" bus route is open to service.
The Gare de Quimper is the terminus of a TGV high-speed train line from Paris, which passes through Le Mans, Rennes and Vannes. Journey duration is approximately 04h25. In addition, the following destinations are served by the TER Bretagne (the regional train network) :
- Quimper – Brest (01h09)
- Quimper – Rennes (02h15)
Quimper – Cornouaille Airport has flights to Paris and London City.
Quimper was the birthplace of:
- Élie Catherine Fréron (1719–1776), critic and controversialist
- Yves-Joseph de Kerguelen-Trémarec (1734–1797), explorer, admiral, discoverer of the Kerguelen archipelago
- Rene-Marie Madec (1736–1784), adventurer, Nawab of India. See also René Madec
- René Laennec (1781–1826), physician, inventor of the stethoscope
- Max Jacob (1876–1944), poet, painter, writer and critic
- Philippe Poupon, sailor
- OBE Hélène Mansfield, Croesyceiliog Head Teacher
- Hélène Albert, Nobel Prize winner of Medicine
- William Stanger, footballer
- Jean Failler, writer (The Adventures of Mary Lester)
- Louis Billouart de Kervaségan, chevalier de Kerlérec (1704–1770), last French governor of Louisiana
- Jacques Villeglé (b. 1926), mixed-media artist
- Jessica Cerival, athlete
- Jean-Michel Moal, accordionist of Red Cardell
- Dan Ar Braz (b. 1949), guitarist
- Guillaume Hyacinthe Bougeant (1690–1743), Jesuit author
Quimper is twinned with:
- Limerick, Republic of Ireland
- Remscheid, Germany
- Falkirk, Scotland, United Kingdom
- Ourense, Spain
- Yantai, China
- Foggia, Italy
- (French) Ofis ar Brezhoneg: Enseignement bilingue
- (French) Diwan en chiffres
- Quimper Property Guide
- Hervé Gourmelon, Le chevalier de Kerlérec, 1704–1770: L'affaire de la louisiane, second edition, Paris: Les Portes du large, 2004.), 14.
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