My husband and I recognized the transformation instantly upon our arrival at Marrakech’s airport for a week’s vacation last April. After six years away from the Moroccan city we once called home—and where our daughter, now ten, learned to converse in a rapid-fire medley of Arabic, French, and English—it was no surprise that changes had occurred in our absence. …
Marrakech, like most major Moroccan cities, offers two faces to the traveler, a product of its legacy as a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956. One is the dusty medina, an embodiment of Morocco before Western powers took a geopolitical interest in this corner of the Maghreb. The other is the Ville Nouvelle, often referred to as Guéliz, the modern town that the French built outside the medina, an urbane community of spacious boulevards and tree-shaded streets that was originally lined with clay-color Art Moderne villas as neat as sugar cubes.
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This year’s exhibition takes place in Marrakech at the Palais des Congres from March 27th to 31st, 2013. Here you will find new designs in home decor, furnishings, bed linens, garden furniture, and artwork. Natural beauty products and wellness products made in Morocco are also exhibited here and available for purchase.
The exhibition is a trade show for hotels in Marrakech, importers, exporters, designers, architects, etc. but it is also open to the public – and many foreigners love looking around the exhibits to get ideas for their home. Marrakech is a great meeting place for designers and craftsmen – a marriage that has led to many exciting new high-quality products that blend modernity with tradition.
On a walk on my way to the Maison de la Photographie (past the Le Foundouk restaurant), I came upon this small store–one of those hidden treasures in the medina of Marrakesh. I noticed the delicately-woven scarves hanging outside – the kind that sell for hundreds of euros in Europe. So I went inside and found a couple of weavers hard at work with their wares artfully displayed. I was so taken by them, I immediately purchased two – and later went back for more. They make wonderful gifts, do not weigh much and hardly take any room in a suitcase.
The store is owned by Faissal Bennouna. He didn’t have the colour that I wanted so I asked him to make one for me, which he did in a couple of days.
I love neutrals, whites and blacks but sometimes you also need some colour in your life. thats why I love the Moroccan Boucherouite rugs.
The rugs are made from recycled materials such as cotton, nylon and wool textiles. Each rug has a beautiful unique pattern. For our shop El Ramla Hamra we have specially selected some lovely vintage boucherouite rugs.
There are no rules for the boucherouite. They are all different in colours and patterns. Some with lovely pastels and some with bright colours. These days new rugs are made inspired by the boucherouite. But my preference goes out to the rug with a history. So we only select vintage rugs.
We have just taken new photos, include this boucherouite rugs, in collaboration with photographer and stylist Paulina Arcklin.
There were days when you could tramp around the markets for hours and never find a café to sit down and have a rest – now cafés in the medina are springing up all over. This one is just behind the main square, Place Jemaa’ el Fna’. It’s a welcome place to sit down and have a drink and quick sandwich or soup for lunch, or whenever you find it, and watch the action below. Roof terrace – sun hats provided. Free WiFi.
Café de la Poste has been around for a long time – with authentic 1920s colonial décor–soaring high ceilings, wicker chairs, slowly rotating fans and potted palms. The Grand Café de la Poste is a favourite of Marrakech’s trendy local and expat crowd for long, casual lunches and indulgent dinners. The menu is a mix of Moroccan and French cuisine, featuring simple dishes ranging from croque- monsieur and goats cheese salads, to grilled sardines and roasted sea bass.
Café de la Poste, Marrakech Boulevard el Mansour Eddahbi Marrakesh, Morocco
05 24 43 30 38
Café du Livre is a bookstore/restaurant that specializes in international food and is often visited by ex-pats and book lovers. Located in the new city of Guèliz, it is hidden away just behind the rue Tarik ben Ziad, it is a quiet place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the streets. Here you can eat a meal, peruse their bookshelves, and take advantage of their wifi
Café du Livre Marrakesh 44 Rue Tarik Ben Ziad Marrakech
05 24 43 21 49
Another recent addition to the restaurant scene in the new town of Guèliz. The décor is modern industrial with some interesting heavy-duty ceiling fans. The look is cool and trendy with pop art on the walls and old Charlie Chaplin movies projected on to the wall above the seating area. International cuisine with good reviews. One drawback is that there is no roof terrace – so unless those fans are truly powerful, it may seem a little too warm in the summer. Moderately priced.
Le Loft Gueliz 18, Rue de la Liberté, Guèliz, Marrakesh
Brasserie de Flore
A new, welcome addition to the restaurant scene in Marrakesh is the Brasserie de Flore. An authentic French Brasserie (think early 20th century) in Marrakech Plaza, Place du 16 novembre in the heart of Guèliz, the new town of Marrakesh. The tastiest restaurant meal I’ve eaten in Marrakech is at Brasserie de Flore. The décor, typically French so you’d think you were in France, is one of understated elegance with crystal chandeliers and fans hanging from the high ceilings. It is spotlessly clean and offers great food at great prices and in very generous portions. Open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Brasserie de Flore
Marrakech Plaza, Place du 16 novembre
05 24 45 80 00
Luxury for less – great accommodation in Marrakech