France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Morlaix, Brittany, France Guide
This large town near the Breton coast of Finistère can be a base for visiting seaside sites like Île-de-Batz, Carantec, Roscoff, and the astonishing Breton enclos paroissiaux (medieval church complexes).





Morlaix (pop. 15,000), is a major population center in this part of Finistère, a medieval/modern town squeezed into the narrow valley where the streams named Le Queffleuth and Le Jarlot form the Rivière de Morlaix emptying into the Rade de Morlaix, connecting to La Manche (the English Channel).

Marked by its famous 19th-century, 62-meter-high railroad viaduct (1865), Morlaix preserves several streets of medieval half-timbered houses and granite mansions built by merchants who grew rich on the trade in linen, the cultivation, production and sale of which was a prime source of wealth for this area five centuries ago.

Viaduct, Morlaix
View of the Viaduct and the port of Morlaix.



Direct TGV trains from Paris-Montparnasse travel to the Gare de Morlaix SNCF, Place du Colonel Rol Tanguy (map), daily in 3 to 3-1/2 hours on the Paris-Brest line.

Note that the Gare has North and South entrances, reached on different streets. Public shuttles and buses serve the South side. The station is a 15-minute walk, a steep 62-meter (203-foot) descent via steps to the town center beneath the railroad viaduct.

Public Transportation

Lineotim is the public transportation company for Morlaix and surroundings. Shuttle N2 takes you from the South (Sud) side of the Gare de Morlaix SNCF to the center of town (Hôtel de Ville and Place Cornic Trégor) in nine minutes, for free. The all-electric shuttles operate every 25 minutes from about 07:00 am to 19:00 (7:00 pm), Monday through Saturday (no shuttles on Sunday or holidays).

Bus 1 and Bus 3 also run between the Gare (south side) and the town center (Hôtel de Ville and Place Cornic Trégor) every 30 minutes from about 07:00am to 19:45 (7:45pm), taking you from the train station to the center in only 5 minutes. No buses on Sunday or holidays, however.


The helpful Office de Tourisme (tel. +33 (0) 2 98 62 14 94, is in the historic Maison Penanault at 10 place Charles-de-Gaulle in the town center (map). They have maps and brochures describing walking tours in Morlaix and driving excursions to the surrounding areas, such as the enclos parroissiaux, and Carantec and other sites along the coast.

Hotels & Restaurants

Morlaix has a limited number of hotels and B&Bs. Find them using this handy Hotel Search Map with Prices:

(Don't see the map below? Click here!)

Morlaix, Mural
Morlaix loves its large murals! That window was in our bathroom in the small Maison Serrurier.

As for restaurants, you'll find a lot of creperies and a number of other casual restaurants. There isn't much on the main street, and you'll want to go back onto some of the pedestrian streets, such as rue Ange de Guernisac. We had some excellent crèpes (and generous glasses of wine) at the charmingly named La Crèpe Enchantée on that street. We also enjoyed excellent moules frites at the Grand Café de la Terrasse, near the Place des Otages.

What to See & Do

The first thing you notice when you arrive in Morlaix is the viaduct, a large presence rising high above the town. Although trains pass over the top of it, pedestrians can walk across at the lower level, and you get great views of Morlaix from there. Be aware that even the lower level is pretty high, and you will have to walk up many stairs to get there. The access is somewhat easier from the venelle de la Roche (alley of la Roche) on the west side of the main street, near the Place des Otages. After you walk across you'll descend on the venelle aux Prêtres, past some private homes and eventually down to some charming pedestrian streets such as the rue Ange de Guernisac. It's lined with old houses and also is home to quite a few restaurants.

Morlaix, Brittany
View of Morlaix and the town hall, from the viaduct.

Morlaix has a number of well-preserved 15th and 16th century houses, many clustered around the Place Allende and La Grand'Rue. The Maison de la Duchesse Anne, dating from about 1530, is noteworthy and portrays a typical interior of that time.

Also of great interest is La Maison À Pondalez, at 9 Grand'Rue. This 16th century house boasts an enormous granite fireplace and stairs that connect the various levels and parts of the house. Serving as a museum today, it allows you to see the complex architecture typical of these old houses. They were sometimes called "lantern houses" and had open courtyards in the middle.

In addition, the rooms contain religious and secular objects from the period. Of great interest to us were the exhibits that explained the manufacture and trade of linen and flax, the industries that brought great wealth to this area in the 15th and 16th centuries. Profits from the linen trade funded the building of the ornate enclos paroissiaux, or parish closes, in this region. Each village wanted its enclos to be the best, so great sums were invested in them. (Note that the exhibits on the linen trade are on loan from the Morlaix Museum and will likely be returned when its restoration is complete.)

It's pleasant to stroll through the old streets or along the water. And if you're there on Saturday, be sure to go to the market, held at the Place Allende. It's a lively place, with lots of fresh produce, seafood, and other culinary delights, as well as clothing and household items. Keep an eye out for a couple of local specialties, including a vendor who shows up with a whole roasted pig, selling off platters of meat all day until it's gone; or the booth selling Kig Ha Farz, a Breton stew made with three meats, a variety of vegetables, and buckwheat dumplings.

Excursions from Morlaix

As noted, Morlaix is a great place to base yourself to visit other places in the area. We made two excursions to the wonderful enclos paroissiaux, just a short drive from Morlaix; and to the Cairn of Barnenez, the Neolithic burial mound just 14 kilometers/9 miles north of Morlaix, near Plouezoc'h on the Kernéléhen Peninsula (map).

You can also visit Roscoff, Carantec, and Saint-Pol-de-Léon quite easily from Morlaix.

About Brittany

Enclos Paroissiaux

Cairn of Barnenez




Food and Drink in Brittany

St. Malo


Mont St-Michel




Serene - a novel of the Belle Epoque


Market, Morlaix

Above, Saturday market in Morlaix.

Below, What you see as you walk along the viaduct.


Viaduct, Morlaix

Maison de la Duchesse Anne, Morlaix
Above, Maison de la Duchesse Anne.


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