Max Jacob praises Quimper - A meeting point

Under the Odet chestnut-trees where I was born

Quimper, in Breton, means confluence, because of the two rivers Odet and Steir which meet in the city centre. Max Jacob’s native house at Number 8, rue du parc stands precisely on the deck of the river he never failed to admire and those two rivers have left deep marks in the poet’s memories.

The confluence
The confluence

He first recalls the many footbridges that cross over the two rivers and used to lead to the private docks on the opposite riverside, where the rich middle-class people’s houses were settled. Nowadays this dock is a free promenade.


En bas, l'Odet aux ponts de fer multiples se gargarise interminablement sur le disque éclatant de l'Odet élargi.

Le Laboratoire Central

The chestnut-trees which follow the river and protect its riversides at dusk...

The « big chestnut-trees » - damaged during the last storm, in 1987 - are also touching memories for the poet :

The magnificent, lyrical Quimper, with magnolia-trees in the river and chestnut-trees, such gorgeous greenness... (Œuvres burlesques et mystiques du frère Matorel)

In the fields of darkness a river shone in which heavy chestnut-trees confronted their eyebrows. (Romance des chauves souris à Quimper)

The Odet and the chestnut-trees
The Odet and the chestnut-trees

The prefecture
The prefecture

The prefecture faces Max Jacob’s house. It sometimes looms up in his poems, stuck to the chestnut-trees, themselves stuck to the window.

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