Visit Morlaix (Brittany, France)
Morlaix is on the northern coast of Brittany, to the south of Roscoff and a few kilometres inland at the southern end of Morlaix Bay. There is a great deal of interest to discover in this historical Brittany town, with an attractive port area and a historical centre.
The first thing you will notice in Morlaix is the viaduct, which was built in the 19th century to allow trains to pass between Rennes and Brest. Built using the local pink granite the viaduct dominates the town and the port. Much of the town itself has developed on the hills that slope down to the bay, giving frequent views across the terraced gardens and rooftops as you explore.
It was around the port that Morlaix originally developed and it is still a hub of activity, and with some impressively grand houses lining the port, built with the proceeds of the profitable linen industry and other port activities, mostly in the 18th century.
The port is always bustling in summer, its popularity with pleasure craft helped by the position of the port almost in the centre of the town.
The historical centre of Morlaix is very pleasant to explore, with the narrow streets lined with medieval houses, many half-timbered, others with facades hung with wooden tiles in the traditional Breton fashion. Many of the half-timbered buildings (typically dating from the 16th century) are also painted in bright colours which further adds to the charm, while others feature interesting wooden carvings and decorative features.
Maison de la Duchesse Anne
Some of the 16th century houses here are known as 'lantern houses' - the 'lantern' refers to an interior courtyard to the house which contains a fireplace and a staircase to the upper stories and allows light to enter the building. The best known of these medieval lantern houses is in the Rue du Mur and called the 'Maison de la Duchesse Anne'. Built around 1525 you will best appreciate the design and decoration if you visit the house, it costs less than 2 euros and is highly recommended (open for visits may to September).
Morlaix churches and monuments
There are two notable churches in Morlaix: the 15th century gothic style Church of Saint-Melanie (just below the viaduct), and the Church of Saint-Mathieu, best known for the renaissance style tower which dominates the front of the church.
The Jacobin convent, built in the 13th century and where Mary Queen of Scots passed the night in 1548, now houses the town's Museum of Fine Arts.
Another museum, that explains the history and architecture of Morlaix, is found in a half-timbered house in Grand Rue, .
In the bay at Morlaix there is an interesting chateau (now a sailing school). This is the chateau du Taureau, built in the 16th century to defend the town against the English after they had invaded Morlaix in 1522.
Local events and attractions
In Morlaix itself, a large music festival (modern music, not the traditional music you will sometimes come across in Brittany) is held each April that attracts more than 10,000 visitors to the town.
After visiting the town take a trip out to the little villages at St Thegonnec, Lampaul-Guimiliau and La Roche, where the churches each have their own distinctive and 'interesting' carvings of various dramatic scenes from the bible and history, well worth the detour.
Photos taken within 10 km
Address: Morlaix, Finistere, Brittany, 29600 || GPS: latitude 48.576, longitude -3.827
Map of Morlaix & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Morlaix, France
- Cairn de Barnenez - national monument (7km)
- Plougonven - enclos-paroissial (10km)
- Saint Thégonnec - enclos-paroissial (11km)
- Plouneour-Ménez - enclos-paroissial (15km)
- Guimiliau - enclos-paroissial (16km)
- Lampaul-Guimiliau - enclos-paroissial (18km)
- Jardin exotique - remarkable garden (20km)
- Commana - enclos-paroissial (20km)
- Bodilis - enclos-paroissial (22km)
- Locmelar - enclos-paroissial (23km)
Market days in Morlaix: Regular market(s) are held in Morlaix each Saturday all day. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Morlaix (Francais)