Explore Ancient France: Quimper
By Camilla Cicconetti
Located in Northwestern France, the city of Quimper is 486 km (302 mi) west-southwest of Paris.
This charming historical town was built on the junction of the Steir, Odet and Jet rivers. It got its name from the word "Kemper" which denotes this junction. It is the oldest Breton city, originally settled during Roman times.
Old Quimper is mostly closed to cars, making it the ideal spot for a leisurely stroll. Wander the cobblestone streets lined with medieval half-timbered buildings and quaint shops.
The town has an ambience that is both tranquil and lively.
Mingle with locals and drop into one of the many shops and creperies.
Study the historical architecture that surrounds you and takes you back to another time.
At the centre of the city towers the stunning Cathedral of Saint-Corentin, with its intricate Gothic-style design. The cathedral was constructed between the 13th and 16th centuries. Its two soaring towers are 250 feet high; its dramatic spires were added in the 19th century. It is the oldest Gothic structure in lower Brittany.
One interesting feature of this cathedral is that it bends slightly in the middle to match the contours of its location, and avoid an area that was swampy at the time of the construction.
Explore the artistic details of the gorgeous light filled interior like the 15th century stained glass windows.
Of course like any ancient site, the church also has a few tales to tell. In 1620 its bell tower was engulfed in a terrible fire. It is rumored, and documented, that the crowds saw a green devil in the flames.
For history buffs, you can check out the nearby Musée départemental Breton, housed in the former bishop's palace.
Quimper is a family friendly city and is full of picturesque places to snap photos for lasting memories.
While in town, pick up some world-famous Faince pottery in one of the shops beside the Odet river. Pottery has been handcrafted in this town since the 17th century and is still going strong. For those with a sweet tooth, pop into one of the many sweet shops for a mouth-watering array of handmade French macaroons.
Or sip on a glass of cider, one of the region's specialities, in an outdoor cafe. And of course don't forget to sample some of the best crepes and galettes in Brittany.
Beautiful Quimper will not only charm you, but leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
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