- 926 square meters of living space
In the south of the French department of Finistère, in the old town of Quimper, home to Finistère’s prefecture. 5 minutes from a TGV train station which will soon have 200-minute links to Paris. 10 minutes from an airport with 70-minute flights to Paris-Orly. Quimper, very near to Benodet, Pont-Aven and Raz Point and with a wide range of shops, restaurants, theatres as well as cinemas, attracts large numbers of tourists.
Schools are just a stone’s throw away.
This chapel stands in the Fontaine district and is part of a group of buildings which, in the last century, provided accommodation for seminarians.
This entire district was recently rehabilitated and an annex of the town hall installed there on the site of an old manor house, the buildings comprising a balanced mixture of old and modern architecture. This chapel has 36 car parking spaces within a large carpark set out around the edifice.
The seminary chapel
With its floor surface area spanning 900 m², this large chapel has no cause to envy churches. This edifice was constructed at the end of the 19th century on the site of Quimper’s old seminary. Following the passing of the law separating churches and the state in 1905, it was dismantled and then reassembled stone by stone within the perimeter walls of the new large seminary, the works being completed in 1933. Topped with a slate roof, the upper sections of its granite facades feature circular openings in the form of lobed oculi, enhanced with stained glass. Inside the building, two granite spiral stairways, on each side of the entrance door, go up initially to a rostrum overlooking the nave, under which toilet facilities have been installed. The stairways then continue to the attic which features an impressive oak wood roofing framework. Ten alcoves, each housing an altar, are set out on either side of the nave. This presence is explained by the fact that prior to 1965 and the end of the Vatican II council, the concelebration of mass was not authorised in churches so the number of altars was multiplied to allow the simultaneous celebration of several services. The large Virgin, dominating the choir, is flanked on either side by an ambulatory which made it possible for sick priests to attend mass by using a passageway linked directly to the seminary. Most of the stained glass windows are in a good state of repair. Of a good quality, they represent Breton saints and are attributed to Claudius-Lavergne, a glass painter who was also inspector of historic monuments for Prosper-Mérimée. The confessional and the organ case are still in position. Behind the building is a large sacristy spanning approx. 100 m².
The secularisation of the premises does not appear to have affected the benevolent mood of the Virgin Mary who is still smiling in the apse and visitors can but be struck by this somewhat celestial atmosphere. And yet, this old chapel has become a cultural centre and meets all French standards for receiving the general public. It has been used for plays with well-known actors such as Jacques-Weber, for a famous violinist playing his Stradivarius and for numerous exhibitions. In addition to its size and its site in the town centre, the many car parking spaces are a guarantee of easy, practical access for visitors, which will help its artistic resurrection even more. This property could also be used for a hotel and/or catering project, with the 100 m² sacristy being converted into professional kitchens or into private accommodation.
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