Just hours from France, the dream destination of Marrakech guarantees an exotic break.
By Christelle Helbert
The famous Unesco World Heritage site Jemaa-El-Fna square is the tourist centre of the town. Quiet during the day, the square livens up after sunset. Here you’ll come across snake charmers, street vendors, women proposing henna tattoos and musicians.
And then there’s the surrounding souk, with vendors sitting in their colourful stalls calling out to passers by to buy all sorts of objects. Each quarter specializes in different crafts … fabric-dyeing, basket-making, ironwork, copper work, babouches, and leather and a little wander around the spice stalls will awaken all your senses.
After the intense liveliness of the souk, the Majorelle Garden is superbly calm and restful. Named after its first owner, the French artist Jacques Majorelle who created ultramarine blue, the famous Majorelle blue, it was later purchased by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé.
The botanic garden has become one of the major tourist destinations, decorated with impressive cacti, waterlilies, palm trees, fountains and ponds … Continue the visit with the Bahia palace, built in 1880, for the Vizier Ba Ahmed, the master of Morocco between 1894 and 1900. This masterpiece of Moroccan architecture is made up of a group of superbly decorated houses that open up onto floral patios, ideal for resting.
Before leaving the town, visit the 19 kilometres of ramparts by horse and carriage or car. The wall has about 15 gateways and no less than 200 towers. At sunset, the walls illuminate with the rays of the setting sun. Spectacular.
Where to stay
• La Mamounia
• Le Royal Mansour
• La Villa des Orangers
• Le Palais Namaskar
• Consulat Général de France – Tél. : +212 524 38 82 00
• Office de tourisme – Tél. : +212 524 43 61 79
• Office du tourisme en France – www.tourisme-marocain.com
• Aéroport – BP 13201 – Tél. : +212 524 44 78 55
• Le Jardin Majorelle
• Le Palais de la Bahia
• Les Tombeaux Saâdiens
• Le Musée de Marrakech