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La Maison Penanault in Morlaix

An unmissable starting point for discovering the area of Morlaix!

The Manor House of a Morlaix Nobleman

Welcome to this splendid urban manor, dating from the late 16th century. It is now home to a Discovery centre for Morlaix Bay, recognised as a ‘Land of Art and History’.

A carefully-selected site

At the end of the 16th century, Morlaix was the third biggest port in Brittany, not far behind Nantes and Saint-Malo. Here, away from the main fortified town with its cramped housing, a Morlaix nobleman built a superb stone manor house. It was based around an old watchtower on a spot called ‘Pen an aod’, which is Breton for ‘the end of the shore’. This was a strategic site both for keeping an eye on the boats and merchandise coming and going - and for making his presence very clear.

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Maison Penanault à Morlaix, Office de tourisme

A prestigious residence

The unprecedented living quarters of 700m², the large reception room, the monumental staircase, the U-shaped design and the vast 4,400m2 gardens made this residence a true urban manor house, along with the Renaissance styling of its doors and windows and the carefully cut, contrasting stonework of schist and local granite.

Groundbreaking architecture
The luxurious ‘Pondalez’ houses of Morlaix were still being built from wood when this immense manor was constructed from stone.

A fine heritage site

Specialised construction teams
The restoration took more than three years and involved teams from twenty-one different trades specialising in heritage restoration, including architects, carpenters, builders, roofers, locksmiths, ironworkers, woodworkers, plumbers, electricians and decorators.

The only woodwork of its kind in Brittany
The tower is topped by a beautiful wooden framework in the shape of an upturned boat hull. This shape, often found in chapels, suggests there was once an oratory in the uppermost room.

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Maison Penanault à Morlaix, Office de tourisme

Discovery of a rare timber-structure gallery
In the courtyard, this wing of the building was once held up by a wall and, in the 19th century, housed the servants’ quarters on the ground floor. Three granite columns were discovered here during the restoration work. A true architectural rarity, this ancient gallery structure has now been reopened. The two-storey, timber-structure façade was rebuilt and restored in a workshop before being brought back and installed on site.

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Maison Penanault à Morlaix, Office de tourisme

Terraced gardens set over five levels
This urban manor house boasts 4,400m2 of gardens that were used for both produce and pleasure – the largest gardens in Morlaix! They play a large part in Penanault’s design as an ideal stately residence.

An Historic Monument dedicated to welcoming the public

Discover Morlaix: Land of Art and History!
Maison Penanault houses the Architecture and Heritage Visitor Centre for Morlaix Bay, Land of Art and History, which offers both a fun and educational way to discover the area’s wealth of natural, cultural and heritage gems. A permanent exhibition with original and attractive displays will give you an overview of local heritage, helping you to understand its history and how it evolved. The aim, of course, is to make you want to visit all the sites!

To find out more…
Visit the temporary exhibition, which always focuses on a local urban or heritage theme, and you can also access our on-site resource and document centre.

The marvellous journey of John Garett through the Land of Morlaix

His story will tell you all about history!
The permanent exhibition at the Architecture and Heritage Visitor Centre for Morlaix Bay, Land of Art and History revolves around the incredible journey of a young Englishman.

Back in the 17th century – Morlaix’s golden age – John Garett left Truro in Cornwall and came to work in Morlaix. Several hundred Englishmen were already here and the linen trade was then at its peak. John Garett settled in the area and started a family. Jean Le Garrec, one of his descendants, welcomes us on the first floor and traces the story of how his ancestor discovered the area.

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Maison Penanault à Morlaix, Office de tourisme

Maritime heritage and urban heritage
Two rooms recreate and explain the landscapes that John Garett would have discovered as he explored Morlaix Bay: his arrival at the Town Hall, his travels through the medieval town and his explorations in the west of the Morlaix region, including the Chateau de Penhoat in Saint-Thégonnec and the town of Saint-Pol-de-Léon.

Rural heritage
In the final room, John Garett guides us to the inland regions of Morlaix to discover our unusually flamboyant parish churches, linen wash-houses, the Cistercian Abbaye du Relec, the rural landscapes of the Arrée Mountains with their slate quarries, Beaumanoir churches and country manors.

John Garett’s descendants lived through all the changes that took place here throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the advent of the train, the arrival of steam mills in Morlaix’s tobacco factory, the birth of tourism and the rise of regional architecture.

An entertaining visit
With various models, moving images, interactive displays and touchscreens, this visit is designed to interest and entertain all ages!

Visit time: 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Morlaix Tourist Office

Perfectly located between the medieval town and the 18th-century manufacturing quarters, the Tourist Office based in Maison Penanault is also the starting point for various visits:

  • the open-air museum that is Morlaix itself
  • the shores and waters of Morlaix Bay
  • the unique, flamboyant churches of the Arrée Mountains
  • the historic market town of Guerlesquin
  • the many archaeological and architectural sites and beautiful landscapes of the areas known as Trégor and Léon

Information, gift shop and ticket office
Transport, refreshments, accommodation, boat trips, sports or cultural events and bike hire – Morlaix Tourist Office is here to welcome you, to help, to advise and to guide you throughout your stay in Morlaix Bay.

More about Morlaix Tourist Office’s services.

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Maison Penanault à Morlaix, Office de tourisme

La Maison Penanault through pictures