Culture and romance 15 kilometers from the Atlantic coast
Quimper, a town worth seeing, with around 64,000 inhabitants, is located in Finistère, the western part of the French region of Brittany, and can be easily reached from Paris in around four hours with the TGV high-speed train.
What sights does Quimper have to offer?
Travelers coming by train can take a free minibus that goes straight to the city center. You will be surprised by a quaint old town with romantic charm. There you can admire the Gothic cathedral Saint-Corentin with its two high towers and stained glass windows from the 15th century. The center of Quimper is characterized by its winding streets, many half-timbered houses and small canals with bridges. Numerous shops offer shopping opportunities. The city center is particularly lively on market days when there is a lot of activity. A visit to the “Musée des beaux arts” art museum, where, among other things, Breton painting can be seen, is interesting. The visitor can also admire works of art by Paul Gauguin.
Activities and souvenirs in Quimper
A little far from the old town is the Locmaria district, where an old Roman settlement, the so-called Aquilonia, rises. The Faience Museum is located nearby. Ceramic workshops have been in operation in Quimper for over 300 years. The objects are still hand-painted today. The Breton bowls, French bols, which are often decorated with traditional motifs and given names, achieve high sales figures. Anyone interested can get their own personalized bowl with their name on order. Anyone who is enthusiastic about Breton clothing should make a detour to the renowned textile company Armor-Lux. There is sailor clothing there that is also suitable for everyday life.
Quimper has a special charisma. Those interested in culture and strollers alike feel at home in the small Breton town. Quimper is a gem with a wonderful atmosphere.
From a pirate’s nest to a charming seaside resort
In the past, the inhabitants of the city lived as fishermen and privateers, today from tourism. The French commune of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, known as a traditional bathing and holiday resort on the Bay of Biscay, currently has a population of around 14,000 and is located in the extreme southwest of the Bayonne arrondissement, west of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department and south of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Little is known about the historical origins of the place in the Basque province of Labourd; reports from the 15th century come from local whalers who sought their fortune in distant Newfoundland. From the 16th to the 18th century, the then small and sleepy fishing village of Saint-Jean-de-Luz was also a pirate’s nest that was notorious in the entire surrounding region. With the connection to the railway network in the 19th
The enviable maritime location ensures a large crowd almost all year round
Saint-Jean-de-Luz recovered quickly from the turmoil of the First and Second World Wars, and after 1945 and until today numerous more luxurious hotels and other accommodations such as apartments, campsites and holiday homes have been built. Very long, wide as well as clean and well-kept beaches, such as the “Erromardia”, are still the most important crowd pullers on site. Particularly popular with guests are those accommodations directly on the Atlantic, with stairs leading from their balconies to the beach. In France, as well as in Spain, which is immediately to the south, the place is also known as an Eldorado for surfers and water sports enthusiasts; competitions in coastal swimming often take place here in summer.
Sights and monuments
The classy atmosphere in the holiday resort is also shaped by the diverse architectural heritage. Nationally known and accordingly well-attended architectural attractions in Saint-Jean-de-Luz itself are the church “Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste”, built between 1630 and 1685, in which in 1660 the so-called “Sun King” Louis XIV. His wife Maria Teresa of Spain and the 2.5 hectare botanical garden “Jardin botanique littoral Paul Jovet” in the avenue Bernoville Gaëtan. The imposing city palace “Maison Ezkerrenea” in the Rue de la République from the 16th century is equally worth seeing not only for fans of historical buildings. The “Maison de l’Infante” at the port is an official cultural monument, as is the neighboring “Maison Betbeder-Baïta”. The two listed fishing boats “L’Aïrosa” and “Patchiku” from the late 1950s are moored in the harbor basin. A nearby attraction is the “Château d’Urtubie” castle in the neighboring town of Urrugne, which was built in 1341 and is now used as a hotel.