Cornwall in Brittany

By | Category: Travel destinations

dancing at the festival

In a week’s time, one of the biggest French festivals takes place. Called the Cornwall Festival or Festival de Cornouaille, it has little to do with Cornwall but a lot to do with Brittany.

Well over 350,000 people will visit the small Breton town of Quimper to enjoy the six days during which Brittany celebrates its culture, its language, its heritage and its relationship with the rest of France with over 200 shows. If it sounds a bit like the Welsh national eisteddfod then that’s probably because it is the closest comparison that there is. But unlike the eisteddfod, this festival remains in Quimper, has booksellers along the quayside, most of it is free and it is spread throughout the town.

Celebrating its 90th birthday, this is one of the oldest Celtic cultural festivals that there is. Here you will hear the Breton language spoken and sung whilst you see how similar it is to Welsh and other Celtic tongues. For example in Cornwall, Kernow is the Cornish; in Breton it is Kerne.


Quimper sits on the River Odet some twelve miles from the Breton coast. Obviously going back to Celtic times, it became a crossing point over the river during Gallic and Roman times and then prospered in the middle ages. It didn’t become part of France until the 16th century. Today the visitors come for that heritage, the old twelfth century church and priory, .the medieval garden and the bishop’s palace houses and the Breton museum. Remaining from the past are the town defences of which a substantial amount remains. Like a lot of our towns the names of the cobbled streets instantly tell you what trades occupied them so you get “rue des Boucheries” (butcher’s street) and “place au Beurre” (butter square) written in French rather than in Breton.

Brittany has proven to be a very popular destination for Brits over the years and there are a number of us who have either holiday homes there or who have moved there completely. Although there are direct flights from London City to Quimper, most people opt for the ferry to northern Brittany, taking their car with them and then exploring the area.

Images © l’Office de Tourisme de Quimper.

For more about the Cornwall festival, click here.
For more about Quimper, click here

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