Dominated by its railway viaduct
www.tourisme-morlaix.fr. Set in a plunging forested valley on the Dossen estuary, sleepy Morlaix is dominated by an imposing railway viaduct which strides blithely through the town centre, its two tiers of arches raised 58 m above the waterfront. There has been a settlement here since Roman times, and it was an important trading port during the 16th-18thC.
Down on the front, Morlaix’s modest tobacco industry still occupies a collection of rather distinguished 18thC buildings (visits on Wed), and the steep streets beneath the viaduct make a pleasant stroll. The Eglise de Saint-Mélaine has Renaissance frescoes in the south porch, a painted ceiling edged with carvings, and monsters munching on the roof beams. The infant Mary, Queen of Scots, en route from Roscoff to Paris, once took shelter in the former Dominican convent church which now houses the Musée de Morlaix. Collections of archaeological finds, medieval statuary and Breton furniture are joined by a selection of 17th-19thC paintings, including a lovely rain-washed Belle-lle-en-Mer by Monet. A short walk away, the rather forlorn Maison de la Duchesse Anne overlooks square Allende. Anne de Bretagne stayed here on a tour of her dominions in 1505, and behind the 16thC corbelled facade, the courtyard is embellished by a spiral staircase.
Brittany’s Parish Closes make a popular outing from Morlaix (below); and the D786 runs north-east from Morlaix to Lannion – see Inland Brittany.