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Quimper France

Quimper is pronounced cam pair and called Kemper in Breton. It is arguably the cultural and artistic centre for the Brittany region, some even call it the soul of the region, and it is distinctly Breton in terms of architecture and ambience.

As the oldest city in Brittany it has many legends surrounding its origins, including the one about King Gradlon who founded Quimper after the city of Ys was flooded. Apparently, when Paris (Par Ys, meaning "equal to Ys") sinks, the seabed city of Ys will rise again and sailors can accordingly still hear the church bells ringing under the sea on feast days.

Quimper airport information

The Steïr and Odet rivers cross at Quimper, and the medieval quarter's cobbled, largely pedestrianised streets are concentrated in this area, to the northwest of the Cathédral St Corentin. The Gothic cathedral was constructed between 1239 and 1515, then the neo Gothic spires added in 1856. On the cathedral's north side is the Musée des Beaux Arts (€3.85) with a great collection from Cocteau and Max Jacob, plus some dull Dutch oils upstairs. The covered market in rue Astor appeals in two ways: it has an appealing selection of food but also affords a good view of the cathedral spires through the roof.

Pottery is an important industry in Quimper and there is a profliferation of tin glazed earthenware, known as faience, in the shops and the Musée de la Faience Jules Verlinque, at 14 rue Jean Baptiste Bosquet (€4) or the atelier H. B. Henriot behind the museum both have excellent examples to observe and buy.

There aren't many hotels in the old quarter but there are several near the station, 1km east of the centre on avenue de la Gare. The busiest time for hotels is during the Festival de Cornouaille, which takes place in the week preceding the fourth Sunday in July and is a superb celebration of Celtic culture. In between the old quarter and station, to the north of the Odet, is the best place to find a restaurant. The Art Deco restaurant Le Jardin de l'Odet at 39 bd de Kerguélen (02 98 95 76 76) has menus that provide excellent value for money from €19 with Breton and French specialities. Creperies abound in place de Beurre, La Krampouzerie at 9 rue Sallé (02 98 95 13 08) representing one of the finest options with outdoor seating and crepes for an average €3.