"A Small town with lots of history to discover."
I don’t know why it has taken us so long to make a proper visit to this lovely old town. We have by-pased it, driven quickly through the outskirts, but until now failed to discover the hidden secrets of its cobbled alleyways, and ancient and medieval history..
The Vikings found, and destroyed, the early settlement standing at the confluence of the rivers Isole and Elle.
In the 11th century the Benedictines established the monastery of St Croix there and the town began to flourish.
The rivers Lisole and L’Elle join to become the navigable Laita so activity around the port made it a prosperous centre of trade and industry, and an important staging post on the road between Nantes and Quimper.
The coming of the railways in the1860's brought a decline in prosperity but new economic developments including the attractions of the surrounding countryside and coast have brought renwal and a desire to preserve the rich cultural history of the town.
"Town & Countryside"
The town is the birthplace of scholars and writers and has played an important part in the preservation of Breton language culture.
It is very pleasant to walk around the old cobbled streets, walk by the riverside and the meadows right in the centre of town.
If you stop to study a street map it will not belong before a friendly resident comes quickly to your assistance. Whilst we stood puzzling over the street map as to whether there was a way back over the river, in the direction we were walking, from the upper window of a house came a shout as a resident called to let us know - Yes there is a Footpath keep walking! And she was absolutely right.
"At the top of the hill"
Whilst the lower town has retained a wealth of buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries the higher part of the town, centered around the Church of Notre Dame in Place St Michel, has not been so fortunate and considerable demolition and clearance of older buildings was undertaken to make way for new development in the 1960’s.
Quimperle is regarded as the centre of Breton studies and culture and the birthplace and home of scholars and writers .