You can’t get much more Bretonnaise than Quimper.
It is the ancient capital of Brittany’s most traditional region, and has a distinctive Breton character. The town has a rustic atmosphere with charming footbridges spanning the rivers that flow through it. The cathedral was constructed between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries and is the oldest Gothic structure in lower Brittany.
The oldest parts of Quimper have a gorgeous collection of half-timbered houses and shops. (And, to anticipate the question, we have no idea why Union Jacks were strung across many streets.)
Besides purportedly being the place where crèpes originated, the town is best know for its faïence pottery. Probably everyone in the world has seen Quimper ware, as we call it in America. It has been made here since 1690, and is decorated with designs of Breton peasants and sea and flower motifs. The yellow pattern is very popular and must be in cupboards worldwide. We toured the museum and the factory shop, but I am pleased to report I was able to resist it all.
We had a wonderful lunch at L’Epée, the oldest restaurant in Quimper, which was a treat for the eyes as well as the mouth.
Earlier today, we also toured the ancient fortified town of Concarneau, a large fishing port and seaside resort. And like all such towns we have visited, it is rife with tourist shops and souvenir stands. Quite charming – at least they are not big on T-shirts here. And the Breton sense of humor is quite funny.
All in all, we are feeling quite at home in Brittany. Must be my Celtic blood coming through. Not sure what Don’s excuse it, but I can’t get him out of oysters long enough to inquire.