If you’re on holidays in France and coming from the ferry at Roscoff early on Sunday morning, by the time you reach Morlaix, you might be tempted to stop for breakfast or keep going to the next pit-stop.
Don’t be fooled by the impression you get from the outskirts where roundabouts and mega-stores mark out an unappealing inland landscape. For a start, Morlaix is actually on the coast – at the head of an estuary and it has its own port. Secondly, it is a very pretty and relaxed sort of place with architectural styles ranging from Roman to mediaeval in the town centre.
The town’s position – tucked away inland from its port – made it an ideal base for piracy/privateering and it was this sort of activity that created the wealth that resulted in much of the historical 16th/17th-century centre that you see today. Although the Romans were here with a presence in a town they called Mons Relaxus, the central piece of architecture – the Morlaix Viaduct – is a 19th-century Romanesque railway construction, but it’s nonetheless impressive and it forms the dramatic backdrop for the huge weekly market.The main Morlaix Market takes place every Saturday throughout the year at Place des Otages from 08:00 to 18:00. There are 100 vendors present even during winter and the summer-time market swells to 200. Items on sale range from food products all sorts of manufactured produce.
In addition, there is another market at Place Allende – 300m away, which runs from 07:00 to 14:00, selling food. Finally, there’s an evening market too, which takes place every Wednesday during all of July and August on Place Emile Souvestre behind the Town Hall (La Mairie) from 19:00 to 23:00.