Saint Corentin Cathedral
The King Gradlon and the hermit Kaourintin
The legend of the city of Ys tells how the King Gradlon, fleeing the Ocean, furious by
the bad actions of his daughter Dahut, arrived at the confluence of two rivers and decided
to build here a city , Quimper. The legend says also how the King Gradlon meet the
hermit Kaourintin and entrusted him with the Bishopric of Cornouaille.
The Cathedral of Quimper reminds us of those events by its name : Saint Corentin Cathedral and by the equestrian statue
of King Gradlon which dominates the city between the two spires.
Three centuries of work
The building of the Cathedral of Quimper started on the XIIIth century. Works began by the construction of the choir,
which incorporates the old chapel Notre-Dame and protected the tomb of alain Caniard, conqueror of Norses in 913. The
front, the towers and the nave were added in the XVth century, after the wars of
succession for the Dukedom of Brittany. The nave was built at the place of a Romanic church of the XIth century.
The fact that the Cathedral of Quimper is built on the remains of two older buildings, may explain an original architectural
particularity : the axles of the nave and the choir are not aligned. The successive builders have certainly preferred to use
the foundations of the Chapel Notre-Dame and the Romanic church.
The final touch
The last addition to the Cathedral were the two spikes which now dominate the Square Saint Corentin from 80
meters. They were added in 1856 by the architect Bigot to replace the basic "extinguishers" which until there were at the
top of the two towers. Those spikes are inspired by the one of the XVth century church from Pont Croix. So as to find
money for the building, the diocese established in the parish of Quimper, a tax of one "sou" each year, during five years.
This tax was nicknamed the "sou from Corentin" and even gave a song [Frédéric LeGuyader, La Chanson
- Et les sous de Léon, les sous de Cornouailles
- And the sous from Leon, the sous from Cornwall
- Tombèrent dru, si dru, dans les plats d'étain.
- Heavily , so heavily fell in the pewter platters.
- Qu'on acheva ses tours au grand saint Corentin!
- That towers were achieved to the great saint Corentin!