Morlaix is instantly recognizable by the towering, 19th century viaduct that spans the valley where the town lies. An estuary port, Morlaix prospered from piracy - or privateering, depending on whose side you were on – and was more notorious than St Malo. The tourist office produces a useful leaflet (about 5FF) with details of various walking tours in the town to appreciate the most interesting streets. La Maison de la Duchesse Anne is the highpoint in Rue du Mur – a superb example of a 15th century maison à lanternes. Morlaix viaduct
Beer drinkers can quench their thirsts at the Brasserie des Deux Rivières where they make Coreff – a highly fermented bitter, very different to the usual French lager-style brew. Open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in summer - a dégustation follows. The Festival les Arts dans la Rue takes place every Wednesday evening in the town centre from mid-July to mid-August with music, dancing and local gastronomy on the menu.
Morlaix, a town of western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Finistre, 37 m. E.N.E. of Brest on the railway to Rennes. Pop. (1906), 13,875. Morlaix lies between 4 and 5 m. from the English Channel in a narrow valley where two small streams unite to form the Dossen, the channel of which forms its port. Below the town the river widens into an estuary, the mouth of which is commanded by an old fortress, the Chateau du Taureau, built in 542 to protect the town against the English. The railway from Paris to Brest crosses the valley on a striking two-storeyed viaduct some 200 ft. above the quays. Morlaix contains a considerable number of wooden houses of the 15th, 16th and I7th centuries. These have large covered courts, with huge open fireplaces and carved wooden staircases, supported on pillars, leading from the court to the upper story's.
Morlaix has a sub-prefecture, tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a chamber of commerce, and colleges for boys and girls. The industries include the manufacture of tobacco occupying about 900 hands, tanning, brewing and the manufacture of casks, wooden shoes and candles; there is an active trade in grain, butter, oil-seeds, vegetables, leather, wax, honey and in horses and other livestock, which are exported by sea. The port, consisting of an outer tidal harbour and an inner basin, admits vessels drawing 7 ft. at spring tides and 2 ft. at neap tides.
Judging by the numerous coins found on the spot, the site of Morlaix was probably occupied in the time of the Romans. The counts of Leon held the lordship in the 12th century, but the dukes of Brittany disputed possession with them, and in 1187 Henry II. of England, guardian of Arthur of Brittany, made himself master of the town after a siege of several weeks. During the Hundred Years War Morlaix was held by the French and the English in turn, and pillaged by the latter in 522. Queen Mary of Scots, on her way to be married to the dauphin, made solemn entry into Morlaix iii 1548. The town having joined the League, the castle was taken by storm in the name of Henry IV. in 1594