I had the good fortune of visiting Quimper, France when I was living in Rennes. Quimper is located in north western France in the Finistère region (the western part of Bretagne). The name Quimper comes from the Breton word “kemper” meaning “confluence”; a fitting name for a city in which three rivers (the Odet, Jet and Steir) meet.
Quimper is known for its lovely faïence earthenware pottery and, of course, its buckwheat crêpes (the official dish of Bretagne) and local hard cider. The medieval part of the town, Vieux Quimper, is quaint and, for the most part, free of traffic. You’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time as you walk down the cobblestone streets lined with half timbered colorful houses and traditional shops.
Whereas most French cities and towns have their major festivals during the summer months, Quimpérois (the term for inhabitants of Quimper) keep warm in the winter with the mid-February Les Hivernautes celebration. During this time, a wide variety of concerts are held at the Théâtre de Cornouaille.
In the summer, you can also find plenty of outdoor concerts and musicians playing traditional Breton pipes and accordions on street corners. I highly recommend attending a Fest Noz (traditional Breton nighttime festival) with plenty of cider and dancing.
If you’re looking for a bite to eat in Quimper, I suggest heading to the old town, where you’ll find the best selection of restaurants. I recommend these two in the old town:
This is the place to go for fine food and a delightful ambiance thanks to their beautiful decor. Full menus from 21 to 51 € per person. Reservations are suggested. Closed Sunday evenings and Mondays during winter. After your meal, check out the nearby cathedral.
1 rue Aristide Briant
Chez Erwan serves up traditional Breton fare with a contemporary flare. Moderate prices, wonderful flavors and friendly staff make Chez Erwan a crowd pleaser. Reservations are recommended, especially for dinner.
Just south of Quimper, you’ll find the Castel L’Orangerie de Lanniron, a 17th century estate on 20 acres (home to the famous Château de Lanniron). This is a great place to spend the afternoon. While you’re there, grab a bite to eat at:
Au Potager de Lanniron (located on the grounds of L’Orangerie de Lanniron)
Chef Franck Boudaud serves gourmet traditional French dishes in a warm, rustic setting. After your meal, take a walk around the lovely 17th century gardens and tour the Château de Lanniron. If you plan on staying in Quimper for a while, Lanniron offers multiple lodging options (from their luxury hotel to the nearby campground). This is a great place to stay for kids or golfers, there is a water park and golf course on the property. You can find more information about these options on their website.
Enjoy your visit to Quimper!
Written by Jen Westmoreland Bouchard for EuropeUpClose.com