Quimper: The Cutest French Town

I’ve just booked everything for my final trip, in May, once my TAPIF contract is over! I’ll be going to the south of France, Geneva, Scotland, and London. I’m especially excited for my adventures in the Scottish Highlands: new cities are wonderful, but sometimes, you have to throw in a little nature!

Thinking about what I expect will be one of my favorite places made me want to write about one of my favorite places I’ve visited so far: Quimper. This is by far the cutest French town I’ve visited. If I were to move to France—and I don’t want to, but if I did—I could live here. It has charm subtle enough that the city isn’t trending amongst tourists (yet), and it effuses a delicate shine—reflecting like glass the early morning light that reaches the water, brightening the whole of the river Odet in the middle of the afternoon, twinkling in the crystals that hang in lines in the air, like stars.

I started my day in Quimper in a way a bit out of the ordinary: I walked all the way to the end of Quimper, past the historical district to Locmaria and the older section of the city. I followed the dirt path along the river, where lots of runners took advantage of the misty morning and other people walked their dogs. I passed quaint little houses styled in typical Brittany fashions: white with gray rooftops and cobblestone.

The fog transformed the city that lay ahead of me into an empyrean cloud of light and settled on the houses on the other bank of the river, where another dirt path mirrored the one I was on and appeared to lead to a small orchard or something like it.

Back in the city, I first explored the main street, Rue Kéréon. It’s here you’ll find lots of shopping and adorable buildings with timber framing—some a light, dusty blue, others with bright pink framing around the windows.

Lots of little side streets wander off from this main street.

It’s on this street, too, that I saw two ponies waiting to give pony rides!

Up the hill is Place au Beurre, where a crêperie can be found on every corner.

At the far end of Rue Kéréon is Place du Terre au Duc, which is pretty but nothing too special, and another river, Le Steïr, around which a bit of wandering will lead you to a small park and a nice row of restaurants.

At the other end of Rue Kéréon is the cathedral, formally called Cathédrale Saint-Corentin. Of all of the churches and cathedrals I’ve visited in Europe—which is to say quite a lot—this one is my most loved, and it’s because of the tiny coats of arms on its ceiling. One is painted I think to look like a Brittany flag, and the ceiling itself is a pretty light coral-pink tile. The first thing I do now when I walk into a cathedral is look up: on many of the ceilings are coats of arms such as these.

The cathedral is lovely for reasons other than its tiny coats of arms, though. In contrast to those of many Gothic buildings, which may appear hard, rough, and intimidating, the exterior of this Gothic cathedral is delicate and sweet.

Inside, light streams through stained glass windows up high to play on the opposing walls. Along the upper walls are mini rainbows of barely-there color, while more opaque red and purple decorate the center of the cathedral.

In some of the chapels, paintings incorporate the old depiction of the halo, a thin golden circle around the head.

Turn around and the organ is small but magnificent, the definition of Quimper cuteness!

After visiting the cathedral, I walked down to the Odet and sat on one of the benches beside it for a while, taking in the blueness of the water and working myself up over the flowers in their boxes on the bridges. It was a tranquil way to end my day in Quimper and something I highly recommend doing!

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