A half-mile walk along the river from the tourist office in Quimper took me to a tiny and very old (pre-Roman) settlement called Locmaria. It is known for two things: a church built ca. 1000 A.D. and the creation and production of the whimsical pottery known as “Quimper Faience.” Unfortunately, both the faience museum and the church were closed.
The church pre-dates gothic architecture so it’s what is known as “Romanesque” style. That’s a building with a high interior supported by lower appendages (aisles) on the sides. The walls are made of thick stone as are the pillars that support the roof. Windows are small and high – little light makes its way into these churches. This is a design that is found in the oldest existing churches in Europe and that remained popular for parish churches into the 15th or 16th century and beyond. It’s a shape that remains very popular still for barns in both Europe and America.
This church became a priory (monastery) church in the mid-1600s and some changes were made in that era. In all likelihood both the transepts and the tower were added then as was a renaissance porch at the entrance with a gothic window above it. A large priory building bearing the date 1664 was constructed adjacent to the church, and a cloister was added. The interior of the nave remains much in the original state.
In this tiny area by the river are three (or more) potteries that have been creating the dishes that have made the name of Quimper famous around the world. There is a faience museum here but it’s closed until mid-April. I found a large store that features work by the best living painters and was able to sneak a few pictures there. It’s called Faiencerie Henriot.
The best examples of old Quimper designs that I found, however, are on the exterior of a closed pottery. It is the former workplace of Paul Fouillen whose work is being exhibited in a 2016 display at the Musée de Faience in Quimper beginning in April. Attached to the exterior of this building as decorations are a few old tiles with original designs.
I borrowed the photo of the interior of the church from this site: http://www.petit-patrimoine.com/fiche-petit-patrimoine.php?id_pp=29232_11. More pictures, much better pictures of the church than I took, can be found there.
History of Notre Dame church in Locmaria (in French, very detailed) https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locmaria_(Quimper)
Photo at the top of this entry lifted from this site: http://www.xupes.com. If you have an interest in acquiring Quimper dinnerware this may be a site that interests you.
More about the pottery: http://antiques.about.com/od/pottery/a/Quimper-Faience-Pottery.htm