Kemper   (Breton)
The Odet River in the centre of Quimper
The Odet River in the centre of Quimper
Coat of arms of Quimper
Coat of arms
Location of Quimper
Quimper is located in France
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Quimper is located in Brittany
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Coordinates: 47°59′48″N 4°05′47″W / 47.9967°N 4.0964°W / 47.9967; -4.0964Coordinates: 47°59′48″N 4°05′47″W / 47.9967°N 4.0964°W / 47.9967; -4.0964
Country France
Region Brittany
Department Finistère
Arrondissement Quimper
Canton Quimper-1 and 2
Intercommunality Quimper
 • Mayor Ludovic Jolivet
84.45 km2 (32.61 sq mi)
 (2017-01-01) [1]
 • Density 750/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
29232 /29000
Elevation −5–151 m (−16–495 ft)
(avg. 6 m or 20 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Quimper (US: /kæ̃ˈpɛər/,[2] French: [kɛ̃pɛʁ] (About this soundlisten); Breton: Kemper [ˈkẽmpəʁ]; Latin: Civitas Aquilonia or Corisopitum) is a commune and capital of the Finistère department of Brittany in northwestern France.


Quimper is the prefecture (capital) of the Finistère department.


The city was built on the confluence of the Steir, Odet and Jet rivers. Route National 165, D785, D765 and D783 were constructed to intersect here, 62 km (39 miles) northwest of Lorient, 181 km (112 mi) west of Rennes, and 486 km (302 mi) west-southwest of Paris.


The name Quimper comes from the Breton kemper, meaning "confluent".


Quimper, with its vernacular architecture, is a popular tourist destination

Quimper is the ancient capital of Cornouaille, Brittany’s most traditional region, and has a distinctive Breton Celtic character. Its name is the Breton word kemper (cognate to Welsh cymer), meaning "confluence". The town developed at the confluence of the rivers Le Steir and L'Odet. Shops and flags celebrate the region's Celtic heritage.

Quimper was originally settled during Roman times. By AD 495, the town had become a Bishopric. It subsequently became the capital of the counts of Cornouailles. In the eleventh century, it was united with the Duchy of Brittany. During the War of the Breton Succession (1341-64), the town suffered considerable ruin. In 1364, the duchy passed to the House of Montfort.

The town has a rustic atmosphere, with footbridges spanning the rivers that flow through it. The Church of Locmaria, a Romanesque structure, dates from the eleventh century. The Cathedral of Saint-Corentin, with its Gothic-style façade, was constructed between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. It is the oldest Gothic structure in lower Brittany. Its two towers are 76 m (250 feet); its spires were added in the nineteenth century. The fifteenth-century stained glass windows are exceptional. The cathedral is dedicated to Quimper's first bishop, Corentin.

To the cathedral's west are the pedestrianized streets of Vieux Quimper (Old Quimper), which have a wide array of crêperies, half-timbered houses, and shops. Near the Episcopal palace, which now holds the Musée départemental Breton (devoted to regional history, archaeology, ethnology and economy) are the ruins of the town's fifteenth-century walls. Nearby is the Musée des beaux-arts de Quimper. The museum has a nineteenth-century façade and an entirely rebuilt interior. It houses a collection of fourteenth to twenty-first century paintings that includes works by François Boucher, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean-Baptiste Oudry and Peter Paul Rubens, along with canvases by such Pont-Aven School painters as Émile Bernard, Maurice Denis, Georges Lacombe, Maxime Maufra and Paul Sérusier.

The town's best known product is Quimper faience, tin-glazed pottery. It has been made here since 1690, using bold provincial designs of Jean-Baptiste Bousquet. Quimper has a museum devoted to faience. The town’s eating establishments boast some of the best crêpes and cider in Brittany. The town has also been known for copper and bronze work, food items, galvanized ironware, hosiery, leather, paper and woolen goods.



Its inhabitants are called Quimpérois.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1793 8,400 —    
1800 6,651 −20.8%
1806 6,905 +3.8%
1821 9,400 +36.1%
1831 9,860 +4.9%
1836 9,715 −1.5%
1841 10,154 +4.5%
1846 10,943 +7.8%
1851 10,904 −0.4%
1856 11,450 +5.0%
Year Pop. ±%
1861 11,438 −0.1%
1866 12,532 +9.6%
1872 13,159 +5.0%
1876 13,879 +5.5%
1881 15,228 +9.7%
1886 17,171 +12.8%
1891 17,406 +1.4%
1896 18,557 +6.6%
1901 19,441 +4.8%
1906 19,516 +0.4%
Year Pop. ±%
1911 19,367 −0.8%
1921 18,444 −4.8%
1926 18,686 +1.3%
1931 18,297 −2.1%
1936 18,814 +2.8%
1946 20,149 +7.1%
1954 19,352 −4.0%
1962 45,989 +137.6%
1968 52,496 +14.1%
1975 55,977 +6.6%
Year Pop. ±%
1982 56,907 +1.7%
1990 59,437 +4.4%
1999 63,274 +6.5%
2008 63,929 +1.0%
2009 63,387 −0.8%
2010 63,550 +0.3%
2011 63,235 −0.5%

Breton language

The municipality launched a linguistic plan through Ya d'ar brezhoneg on 6 February 2008, to revive the teaching and use of Breton, the historic Celtic language of the region. In 2008, 4.61% of primary-school children attended bilingual schools.[5]


Quimper has several schools. These include two Diwan preschools, two Diwan primary schools and one Diwan collège (all specialise in use of Breton). In total, 287 students attended here a Diwan school in 2003–2004.[6]

Winter Festival

Most French festivals are held in the summer season, but Quimper has a Winter Festival: Les Hivernautes. In the summer, you can also find concerts on street corners, with pipers and accordion players.[7]

Local Points Of Interest

River Odet
  • Quimper Cathedral. This cathedral has a remarkable bend in its middle.
  • churches (Locmaria, Saint-Mathieu, Kerfeunteun, Ergue-Armel...)
  • an old town centre with mediaeval fortifications and houses
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts (near the cathedral)
  • Cornouaille Festival: traditional dance (last week of July)
  • Faience museum
  • Statue of Gradlon looking in the direction of Ys at Quimper Cathedral


Public transport in Quimper is provided by QUB. The network consists of 7 urban bus routes, and 16 suburban bus routes. During the summer months of July and August, an additional "beach" bus route is open to service.

The Gare de Quimper is the terminus of a TGV high-speed train line from Paris, which passes through Le Mans, Rennes and Vannes. Journey duration is approximately 04h25. In addition, the following destinations are served by the TER Bretagne (the regional train network) :

  • Quimper – Brest (01h09)
  • Quimper – Rennes (02h15)

Quimper–Cornouaille Airport has flights to Paris and London City.


Quimper was the birthplace of:

Élie Catherine Fréron

Twin towns - sister cities

Quimper is twinned with:[9]

See also


  1. ^ "Populations légales 2017". INSEE. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Quimper". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Données climatiques de la station de Quimper" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Climat Bretagne" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  5. ^ (in French) Ofis ar Brezhoneg: Enseignement bilingue
  6. ^ (in French) Diwan en chiffres
  7. ^ Quimper Property Guide
  8. ^ Hervé Gourmelon, Le chevalier de Kerlérec, 1704–1770: L'affaire de la louisiane, second edition (Rennes : Les Portes du large, 2004), 14.
  9. ^ "Jumelages". quimper.bzh (in French). Quimper. Retrieved 15 November 2019.

External links