Colourful half-timbered buildings lean precariously over the cobbled streets in medieval Quimper, the heart of Brittany's Finistère region.
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.
Exploring the riverside
The serene Odet, one of two rivers intersecting the city, cuts through gorges, woodland and pretty harbours en route from the Montagnes Noires to the coast. Old, flower-covered bridges, pretty gardens and medieval architecture reward a leisurely stroll along the Quimper riverbanks.
Walking and cycling
Rural Finistère, with its rolling hills and coastline, makes for superb hiking and cycling country. Trails along the Nantes-Brest canal, just outside nearby Châteauneuf-du-Faou, and through the woods at Cast, are designed with walkers and cyclists in mind. Closer to base, a short burst up Mont Frugy, the hill overlooking Quimper, rewards you with superb photo opportunities from 230ft (70m) up.
Kayaking on the Odet
A kayak or paddle-boarding tour allows you to meander along the winding Odet under your own steam. With castles, woods and idyllic harbours dotting the route, there's plenty to take in on your journey towards the Atlantic coast.
Concarneau's 'ville close'
The nearby town of Concarneau has other attractions to complement its impressive stone walls. The pretty harbour, sandy beaches and coastal path provide fine maritime views, while the informative Musée de la Pêche celebrates the port's proud fishing heritage.
Château de Keriolet
The historic Keriolet manor, 15 miles (24km) south-east of Quimper, received a 19th-century neo-Gothic makeover by the Russian imperial princess Zenaida Yusopova. Lovingly restored, the castle is now open to the public for guided tours. Discover the château's mightily impressive reception hall and explore the extensive courtyards and gardens.
Armorique Regional Nature Park
The varied landscape of the Armorique Regional Nature Park incorporates the Arrée Mountains, the dramatic Crozon Peninsula, and the islands of Ouessant, Molène and Sein in the Iroise Sea. You can explore the cliffs, coves, heather fields, dunes and marshes in this wildlife-rich environment.
Train rides to Lorient and Brest
Quimper station's central position is handy for day trips to the harbour town of Lorient, just along Brittany's southern coast (from 40 minutes' travel), or to historic Brest in the north, home of the medieval Château de Brest and Tour Tanguy (60–100 minutes, depending on the train).