Quimper

Colourful half-timbered buildings lean precariously over the cobbled streets in medieval Quimper, the heart of Brittany's Finistère region.

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Built at the confluence of the rivers Odet and Steïr, this delightful city features floral bridges, peaceful squares and a mighty Gothic cathedral. Through its museums, festivals, cuisine and customs, Quimper honours and preserves traditional Breton culture.

Itineraries

Weekend

Day 1

Begin your weekend in Quimper by making your way to the Old Town to see St Corentin cathedral and the former Bishop’s Palace, now a museum, before exploring the maze of dainty cobbled streets. Find your way to the medieval Rue Kéréon and Place Terre au Duc for photo opportunities before sitting down with a crêpe and a coffee.

After lunch, spend a couple of hours at the Musée des Beaux Arts, or the Musée Départemental Breton to learn about local customs and the region's pottery industry. Pay an afternoon trip to the Halles Saint-François market before settling in at a quiet bistro for dinner and drinks on the cobbles.

Day 2

Rise early to climb Mont Frugy for views across the Quimper rooftops, and continue your walk by following the riverbanks towards historic Locmaria west of the city centre. If you're feeling energetic, hire a bicycle and follow the route further away from the city centre into the suburbs.

Returning to Quimper, go in search of floral bridges crossing the rivers Odet and Steïr, taking time to look around the second-hand stores and boutiques. Relax with a speciality Cornouaille cider and traditional Breton biscuit at Place-Saint Corentin, then watch the sun go down over the cathedral spires. Make your way indoors to an atmospheric café-bar in search of traditional Celtic music.

Full week

Day 1

Spend your first morning exploring the Old Town, making your way to St Corentin cathedral and the neighbouring square. Explore the pretty floral bridges criss-crossing the rivers Odet and Steïr, and wander among the cobbled back-streets. Enjoy an evening meal tasting authentic Breton cuisine in an atmospheric bistro.

Day 2

Visit the Musée Départemental Breton, housed in the former Bishop's Palace next to the cathedral. View the arts and archaeology displays and learn more about the local pottery industry. After lunch, make your way to the Odet riverside and climb Mont Frugy for a view of Quimper from above the rooftops.

Day 3

Take a hire car north to explore historic Brest, with its famous castle and maritime museum. In the afternoon, make a stop at Armorique Regional Nature Park to enjoy the sea air and become accustomed with Brittany's rugged coastline. Find a quiet bar in an Old Town square for relaxing evening drinks.

Day 4

Spend the morning visiting the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper, which has a varied collection of paintings, including work by local artists. From here, head to a local restaurant for a traditional buckwheat galette, and spend the afternoon wandering the shopping streets of the city centre. In the evening, head for drinks and dinner on Rue du Sallé.

Day 5

Take a trip to the stunning Château de Keriolet, either in a hire car, on the bus or by hiring a bicycle. After visiting the palace, continue to nearby Concarneau to see the port's stone walls and sandy beaches. Once back in Quimper, head out to a local bar to listen to traditional live music.

Day 6

Visit the pretty Jardin de la Retraite, an attractive garden that offers fine views of the city, then see the nearby Tour Nevet, the only surviving medieval tower on the town walls. From here, head to Saint Corentin to look around the cathedral interior before relaxing with a meal and a bottle of Cornouaille cider.

Day 7

Spend your final morning browsing the Halles Saint-François market or the Grand Marché, or visit the shops to pick up souvenirs and gifts, including Quimper pottery. If you have time, stroll along the southern bank of the Odet to historic Locmaria, where you'll find the town’s Remarkable Garden.