The Tourist Office
The main tourist office was situated in Place St Michel in the upper town when we visited - rather weirdly tacked on to the end of the church - Notre Dame de L'Assomption and away from the town centre.
It was well stocked and the staff were friendly and helpful.
Update 17 October 2012 - I am grateful to VT member Gwened for the information that the tourist office has moved to a much more central location and is now at -
3 Place Charles de Gaulle
This is in the main square and town car park and the Office is close to the large building that houses the National Gendarmarie,and is on the right behind the trees!
Abbey Church of Sainte Croix exterior
to follow up with photos the first entry of inside photos on the wonderful magical Abbey Church of Sainte Croix
this church is remarkable for its circular plan in cross and the volumes inside of it. It is in a Greek cross like the church of Saint Sepulcre in Jerusalem.
- Arts and Culture
- Religious Travel
abbey Church of Sainte Croix -interior
The monumental church of Quimperlé; words cannot describe it so simple yet so grand.
the name, Eglise abbatiale de Sainte Croix. Its a jewel and in splendid conditions. It is here that all started…
It the most prestigious monument of the city of Quimperlé, an abbey founded in the 11C by the Count de Cornouaille, Alain Canhiart following a miraculous cure. His church along with the abbey of Lanleff, the only church in Brittany to have a circular plan copied as the one in the Saint Sepulcre of Jérusalem. It form a Greek cross, and has equally a form of a clover drawn as in the Saint-Sépulcre of Jérusalem.
From the 11C it has been preserved its interior a wonderful museum of works of arts. The choir of monks is a one of the best realisations of Roman art, the crypt from the 11C is still preserved, a entombment of Christ sculpture in about 1500AD ,a retable from the 16C, a Christ en robe(dressed Christ) ,and a chaire from the 17C are ,also, remarquably there!!!
A must to see!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Church Notre Dame de l'Assomption
The church is under renovation so close to the public to see inside. However, it needs to be told as one of the principal churches in town and classify historical monument in France.
By place St Michel you have the church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption, an old chapel built in two times, the nave dates from the 13C ,the tower, choir from 14C and the porches from the 15C.
It was in ruins in 1373AD by one Du Guesclin during the war of succession for Brittany, the church rebuilt thanks to aid from duke Jean V, decorated flamboyant gothic and enlarged. Its new choir vouté in stones with its tower reaching 35 meters ( a arrow tower in wood covered in lead will have it at 60 meters).
To come back to see the sanded sculptures in the nave done in 1430AD ,amongst the oldest in Brittany. It is ,also, commonly call church of St Michel as well by locals
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
A unique place indeed and great history.
The building mostly gone now only is left with a front . It was built in 1683 to replace an covered market!.
From the visual stairs shown you went into a terrace that give to the first floor, where the justice audience was carry out ,at the end of this salle or room you had two doors communicating to allow exchanges with the municipal elected officials . The found guilty were enclosed in the building next to the stairs that served as municipal prison.
At the revolution in 1791 the moved of the mayor’s office and the tribunal to the old abbey of Sainte Croix . The “Le Présidial” served as seat of the members of a society that housed the loyals of the cult ephermeric . The Hall survived in the ground floor until 1829. The ”présidial” served temporaly as a prison until 1868 after the belltower of the Sainte-Croix crashed in 1862.
It was abandoned and became a work help or employment bureau and later a place of meeting for the workers union of the C.G.T. It has now house art expositions organise by the city of Quimperlé.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Celtic Literary Connections.
When travelling I enjoy coming unexpectedly across links to literary figures whose work I know something about.
Finding statues and other memorials to writers unknown is always a challenge and sometimes leads me to information and coincidences that I enjoy.
So it was with Theodore Hersart de la Villemarque who was born in Quimperlé in 1815 and died there in 1895.
He was of noble birth and is credited with being the father of Breton literature. His most important work was published in 1839 and was a collection of Breton songs and ballads he had collected.
Subsequently some doubts were cast on the authenticity of the collection but this did not diminish the regard in which he was held for continuing to uphold the Celtic traditions and culture of Breton begun by the historian Dom Morice 100 years before.
As a young man Theodore went to Paris where he met other poets interested in the Celtic connection and in 1838 travelled to Abergavenny, my own home, to attend the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
See salmon "leap" in the centre of town
As you walk south along Rue de la Tour d'Auvergne with the river Isole on your left, you will pass Le Gentlemen Pub, accessed by a footbrige over the river.
Just a little further, on the bridge at the point where the river flows into La Laita - look down over the bridge to view the special channel installed there to assist Atlantic salmon returning to their spawning grounds upstream.
The channel can be seen on the right of the pictures looking down on the weir and is designed to reduce the flow and speed of the river against which the salmon need to leap and swim.
Not quite the same as watching the salmon leap up-river in Betws y Coed or at Swallow Falls in north Wales but it must, all the same, be an exciting sight if you are there at the right time.
Church of Saint Croix & Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem
The abbey Church of Saint Cross dates from the end of the 11th century. It is very large and has has an unusual cruciform and circular shape but seems to be tucked in to the buildings that have gone up around it.
"The plan of the church was copied from that of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It includes a rotunda with three small apsidal chapels opening into and a porch, the whole forming a Greek cross." (Michelin Green Guide)
So - as you walk about the old town it is possible to get a glimpse of some part of the church from wherever you are standing but almost impossible to get a picture - in the eye or on camera - of the whole..
The spire collapsed in March 1862 (winter storm?) and caused considerable damage to most of the church.
Reconstruction followed the original pattern but the bell tower now stands alone. The sanctuary of the monks and the crypt remained intact and the latter is described as one of the most beautiful in Brittany.
We were not able to see it because guided tours take place only in summer.
Information Tel 02 98 96 04 32
The cloistral buildings and the monastery are nowadays occupied by the police. (I could find no explanation anywhere)
Ruins of the Church of Saint Colomban
This Roman portal probably dates from the 10th or 11th century.
The outlines of the of the window frame are in gothic style.
If you look through the arched entrance to the inner coutyard where the body of the church once stood you will see some parked cars and the entrance to the cinema! But there are fragments of a wall believed to be all that now remains of the Sanctuary. They include the bases of three columns from the 14th century.
Sadly this historic building fell into ruins at the beginning of the 19th century.
Now it stands rather forlornly between a restaurant and a takeaway.
Where the aristocracy lived
This street is sometimes compared with a popular quarter of of Paris and described as "une sortie de petit Marais quimperlois".
Along Rue Brémond d'Ars lived everyone who was anyone in the mansions built there from the 16th Century onwards.
All the Establishment - judges and politicians, bankers and noblemen, senior officers of the navy and armed forces - all had homes, and offices, here.
Their grand houses were designed by leading architects of the day with sumptuous interiors and gardens running down to the river.
Les Halles - the covered market.
I spotted this unusally attractive building as soon as we drove onto the car park. From the walking guide obtained from the Tourist Office I recognised it as the covered market.
It was built in 1887 by builders from Paris, the Moreau brothers , from a design by the architects William & Farges. The building is contemporaneous with the Eiffel Tower and distinguished by its unusal ornamentation.
Apart from the ornate brickwork it is highly decorated with motifs - of flowers and animals.
The interior is light and spacious. We were there on a Saturday morning and by the time we wandered in only a few excellent looking fish stalls were still open.
Le Pont Fleuri
This medieval bridge once gave access to one of the three gates through which travellers from Vannes entered the fortified city of Quimperlé.
It is what in the UK we call a "pack-horse" bridge, in France "dos d'ane", over which heavily laden horses or asses could pass each other using the wider spurs as passing places. .
Only two of the original six arches now remain with later constructions on either side.
Visit the Courthouse
Le Présidial dates from 1683 and is the former courthouse. From the outside the most striking architectural feature is the beautifully balustraded entrance staircase - which would once have led into the Court Room
The interior has been refurbished in a bright, airy, modern style as an art gallery entered through the arched doorway below the balustrade.
The gallery specialises in the works of contemporary painters whose subject matter is the natural environment. Entrance was free and we had a peep inside but were running short of time so cut short our visit .
Explore the historic quarter
Rue Saint Morice is named after the Breton Historian and contains some the oldest houses in the historic centre including "The Archers" house that dates from bout 1550. It is used now as a museum and exhibition hall.
A surprising number of these old building are in daily use - as restauranrs, shops, dwellings and galleries.
Restoration work is still ongoing and some were "under wraps" at the time of our visit whilst others were eveidently on the waiting list for remedial attention.
As you walk through the alleys there are frequent information boards with details in French, Breton and English of the various buildings and their histories.
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