A historical town at the confluence of three rivers, the gateway to the Southern Finistère
The Isole and Ellé rivers come together under the stone arches to form the Laïta, a tidal river. Originally based around the quays, the town peacefully expanded by moving upwards. Religious monuments, medieval streets and evidence of port activity and commercial life blend together. Discover the history from the floral bridge to the Ursuline chapel!
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The three rivers hug the cradle of the town. On this peninsula, the Benedictine monks founded the Holy Cross Abbey in the 11th century. The church, which is a jewel of Romanesque art, has a striking circular plan, similar to that of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Around it are examples of religious and civil history: half-timbered houses (from the 15th to 17th centuries), the medieval floral bridge with its humped deck, the rich hotels in the dignitaries’ quarter. On the quays, beautiful stone residences demonstrate the thriving port activity of the time. The indoor market, built in 1887, animates and brings colour to the historical centre.
Mont-Saint-Michel of the land
As the town needed space, it moved up to the hills that watch over it, thus creating an upper town crowned by Notre-Dame church, known as « Mont Saint-Michel of the land ». There are many exceptional buildings in the shade of the Gothic steeple: Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption (13th and 15th centuries), the Ursuline convent and chapel (16th century) with its magnificent gold-leaf ceiling, Saint-Eutrope chapel next to the medieval hospital.
Did you know
In the very beautiful crypt in the Church of the Holy Cross, the recumbent figure of Saint Gurloës features strange gaps. It is said that putting your back or head inside cures many illnesses!
A gentle lifestyle
For everyone who has lingered here, from Brizeux to Flaubert, Quimperlé is the image of a gentle lifestyle. At the gateway to Cornouaille, this centre of Breton culture was home to Matilin an Dall, the most famous Breton bagpipe player of all time, Dom Morice, historian, father of Breton literature, and Théodore Hersart de la Villemarqué, poet of « Barzaz Breiz », a work that revealed the quality and power of Brittany’s oral literature.