New Year in Fez

The New Year is round the corner and a lot of gossip is going on about which party will Gatsby & his crowd be attending. Well, we can't really say, for now its just the time of opening -virtual- envelopes and have a look at what's on offer.

We know that Riad Fes, like every year, will be hosting the most lavish dinner and party for its clients but also opened to riad non-residents at a price of circa 1500 dirhams, noblesse oblige.

The recently opened Maison Blanche will be throwing a dangerous cocktail of gourmet dishes and live music by the winner of the Star Academy Lebanon, and promises keeping us up till 4 am with plenty of champagne; at circa 1300 dirhams it won't be cheap, but New Year comes only once a year.

Zen Garden announces moroccan live music and plenty of good vibes in an environment that will make you feel like home, all for 800 dirhams.

The uptown youngsters have all confirmed assistance to the famous 'Crystal Reveillon 2010', in the vecinity of Le Majestic, by Action Premiere group , and if interested bookings can be made here: 06 64 68 52 80 asking for Hafid.

While we think that in the medina some things will be going on, and we are sure that our friends from Fez Lounge and Cafeclock will be both organising a soirée, nothing is yet confirmed, but dont worry, Gatsby has ears all over Fez and will keep you posted.

Eid al-Kbir in Fez

That time of the year has come when is not really wise to be a sheep ready to be sacrificed for the greatness of God

Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى‘Īdu l-’Aḍḥā) "Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid" is a holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.

Eid al-Adha is the latter of two and most sacred Eid festivals celebrated by Muslims. Eid al-Adha annually falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja (ذو الحجة) of the lunar Islamic calendar. The festivities last for three days or more depending on the country, but in Fez you will find that your workers -in case you are restoring your riad or you are some kind of business owner- ask for about two weeks of holidays that you should kindly decline. Eid al-Adha occurs the day after the pilgrims conducting Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount Arafat. It happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan.

During the precedent days in the medina of Fez we have seen all kind of knives to be sold and people sharping the old ones for a smooth operation that will be traditionnally performed by the head of the family.

Also you could find your perfect dream sheep in Marjane and other supermarkets, the prices ranging from 1500 dirhams up to 3000 dirhams or more if its a real good looking one. And believe Gatsby when it says that nothing of that poor thing will go to waste: head, horns, lungs, skin...whether edible or wearable, everything will be kept or sold.

The rasta-sheep shown above was found wandering in the Fez medina and lodged by Gatsby who spared it from the ritual, and seems that artist Damien Hirst may be already interested in tranforming it into a piece of art.

Restaurant Les Truites, Immouzer

Opened before most of us were born, Les Truites is the perfect refuge restaurant in the skirts of the forgotten Imouzzer. In there everything is old school: the decoration -including the old Martini posters-, the curtains, the efficient heaters, the fireplace. The waiters are also part of the furniture with about 300 years of experience, and the nicest this side of Morocco.
Les Truites makes a perfect stop for lunch on a lazy Sunday before heading for Ifrane, or on the way back from the Cedar forest where everyone likes to feed the monkeys.
On the menu delicious 'escargot a la bourgogne' (snails with parsley and butter), wild trout, wild rabbit, txuctxuca, and other regional delicacies, all washed down with the obligated wine Guerrouane Rouge. Don´t forget to reserve the apple cake as soon as you sit down and keep place like Gatsby does for an extra portion... You'll have the best nap on your way back to Fez...

Hôtel Restaurant
Les Truites

Avenue Mohammed V
Imouzzer du Kandar
Tel+212 (0) 35 66 30 02

How to Bargain in Fez

With the exception of the supermarkets and the modern western shops that we find most comontly in the Ville Nouvelle, bargaining is still the way of buying goods in Fez. Traditionally is also a way of making conversation that may lead to a friendship. In an environment like the medina with very little reglamentation it is furthermore a way of finding the real value of an object. Oscar Wilde used to say that nowadays the people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Well, good news is that in Fez you will be challenged constantly to review your abilities and inner truths about how much to pay for something, and you will find that without guiding you are lost. Gatsby has been there and has trained widely on that domain, but experience cannot be wrapped and given, so the first step you will make is being honest to yourself, and then pay whatever you feel. Note that bargaining is an elegant game highly codified and should be practice with manners but firmly. Accept that cup of tea or coffee and do business with them, but remember this quote from the Godfather:

Michael Corleone: C'mon Frankie... my father did business with Hyman Roth, he respected Hyman Roth.
Frank Pentangeli: Your father did business with Hyman Roth, he respected Hyman Roth... but he never *trusted* Hyman Roth!

Gatsby dixit.

Bridge in Fez

The 7th edition of the growing Bridge Festival of Fez will take place at the hotel Jnan Palace from the 12h of March to the 18th of 2010. While many may have never heard of this initiative, the contestants face an hectic week filled with games, yes, but also with visits to the Medina, the Middle Atlas, thermal therapy, gala dinners and much much more. People fly from all over the world but you can mostly find there some moroccan jet-setters along with english, french and spanish. The setting is very nice and straight out of an Agatha Christie book, let's only hope no murder will be committed, in which case probably they will call Gatsby for help.
The program and all the details can be found in their website:

Our pick, Dar Attajalli

'The city was getting nearer, and at the same time it loomed up within my own mind, rising out of the darkness of memory.
A geode of amethyst, brimful of thousands of tightly packed crystals and surrounded by a silver-green rim: this was Fez, the Old City of Fez, in the twilight.'
(Titus Burckhart – Fez)
If you decide to come to Fez and discover why a lot of people fall in love with this magical city, make sure you treat yourself to a nice lodging. Gatsby is an experienced traveller, has slept in a lot of beds and knows a lot of houses. But even in Fez, with its many wonderful riads and lovely restored houses Gatsby has found one that specially suits his mood and its willing to recommend to other discerned travellers.
Dar Attajalli stands out for the beauty of its walls, yes, but specially for the soul that breathes in the entire house and invites you to relax while whispering uncovered secrets of other times and cultures. Not little of that soul comes from the propietor and host, Kleo, that will make sure everything runs smooth around you. Relax in the patio listening the deep sounds of the monumental fountain, lounge in the terrace watching the sun go down, stay in your suite with one book from the well stocked library, here there is only one rule, follow your bliss. And Gatsby knows one thing or two about that.

Insider Tips on How to Book a Riad

When thinking about coming to Fez there are multiple things you should take care of, being the most important of all booking the right place where your moroccan dream will come true.
Tripadvisor is a great tool but beware, many things are highly manipulated. Edreams, Lastminute and Booking offer many riads in the medina, but not usually the most refined, and feels utterly inhuman.
Remember that Gatsby was a tourist in Fez once too, and everytime he had to come he took care of reserving through run by Helen Ranger. Why? She has handpicked the most beautiful riads in the Medina to provide you with that magical feeling you're looking for, she knows everyone and everyone knows her, her website is clear and in three different languages and has -that is the part we like the most- a small selection of private houses ready for rent, all special, all detail, all wonderful. On top of everything she donates a percentage of her earnings to several restoration projects in the Medina. And if that was not enough I will reveal that she amongst others is resposible for the Lonely Planet basic guide Fez Encounters. Of course she is as well one of Gatsby's friends and goes without saying, a true lady.

Jazz is Back

Jazz in Riad is ultimating its new 2009 edition, and this year's program includes plenty of concerts, exhibitions, conferences and even some films. After a few years keeping a low profile this year edition promises a lot of action, and a huge number of assistants have already been confirmed.

Jazz is a musical art form which originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United Statesfrom a confluence of African and European music traditions.

From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th century American popular music. Its West African pedigree is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note but one of jazz's iconic figures Art Blakey has been quoted as saying, "No America, no jazz. I’ve seen people try to connect it to other countries, for instance to Africa, but it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with Africa".

Well, for sure from the 9th to the 11th of October Jazz will have a lot of things to do with Africa

and you can have a look at the program in the official website

Instituto Cervantes. Agenda

The Cervantes Institute is a worldwide non profit organizaion created by the Spanish goverment in 1991. It is named after Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), the author of Don Quixote and perhaps the most important figure in the history of Spanish Literature. The Cervantes Institute, a government agency, was modeled on the British Council and the German Goethe Institut, and is the largest organization in the world responsible for promoting the study and the teaching of Spanish and culture, with more than 80.000 students a year.
Well, you might not know it but there is a pretty good Instituto Cervantes in our beloved Fez, and they run spanish lessons and much more all year round. They also have a well stocked library were you can borrow books and DVD's, or just read worldwide newspapers.
Very often they organise exhibitions, flamenco concerts and conferences.
Is really a favourite hidden spot for Gatsby, and you should check it out when in the new town. Here is a link were you can check the program.

Fez Lounge Restaurant goes Youtube

Even in the traditional Fez (or Fes) Medina new technologies are finding their way in; first it was the TV satellite dishes you can find in every house, and now some hotels, restaurants and other business in Fez are taking advantage of internet and advertising our wonderfully secret city to promote business.
Our friends from Fez Lounge do it in Youtube with a cute video showing part of the city with a very nice soundtrack by Yann Tiersenn, so you can feel like Amelie, but in Fez.
Here is the link:

New flights to Fez (2)

In its policy to become again the great city once was, with its unparalleled cultural sights, outstanding library containing precious manuscripts and plenty of medieval life in every corner, Fez is proud to announce two new direct flights operated by the most loved/hated airline in the world, Ryanair.

Düsseldorf to Fez is starting on November 4th with a frequency of three flights a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Düsseldorf is a very attractive economic centre reputed for its fashion and trade fairs, and of course beer.

and open your ears..

Madrid to Fez starting the same November 4th with four flights a week, namely Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday!!
Madrid needs no promotion for the discerned traveller. Capital of Spain and centre of the loca 'Movida' you are likely to party 24 hours a day, and go hangover to one of the best museums in the world, El Prado, where to meet old friends like Rembrandt, Van Dyke and of course Velazquez and Goya.

Congratulations to all the fortunate ones, Gatsby knows for sure about at least one from Madrid that will fly in the very first plane...

So here is the updated list of all the destinations linked to Fez so far:
  • Alicante
  • Barcelona (ok, is actually Girona)
  • Brussels
  • Düsseldorf
  • Francfort-hahn
  • London
  • Madrid
  • Marseille
  • Milano (Bergamo)
  • Paris
  • Sevilla

Bou Inania Medersa

The Bou Inania Medersa
closed on fri. open: 10am to 5pm 10dhs
The largest and most beautiful monument from the Merinides period (14th century) in Fez.
Have a look inside

The Infamous Itineraries, II


  1. The antiques market in Ain Azliten, not smelly, just dirty.

  2. The tanneries in Ain Azliten, some say the oldest. Really pestilent.

  3. Down the Tala Kbira, take a left to Palais Jamais. Visit the Donkeys Parking.

  4. On Fidays, Bird Market in Bab Guissa. Bird-flu free.

  5. Go down to Achebine souk, to enjoy the fried sardines smoke.

  6. The jouteya market with plenty of hanging camel heads and legs.

  7. Down to Rcif the food market with strong smell and taste sandwiches

  8. Please dont stop in the Quaraouiyine plublic toilets even if urgent.

  9. Snails Stand in the middle of the Tala Sguira. Give it a try.

  10. Head to your Riad for a shower and some essential luxuries.

Medersa Attarine

The Attarine Medersa

closed on fri. morning open: 10am to 1pm & 2.30 to 6 pm10dhs
A small jewel of the Merinide art. Extremely reffined zelliges and carved wood

Borj-Nord Museum

This old XVIth century fortress close to the ramparts remains true to its military tradition since it has been transformed into the Weapons Museum. The collections have been built up mainly as a result of royal donations and include a number of rare pieces.Weapons specialists will appreciate the development of techniques while art lovers will be impressed by the splendour of the objects.
Live the golden age of weaponry: everyhting is on display here, from the pre-historic axe to the modern rifle. And every civilisation is represented: Indian, European or Asiatic. However, the finest exhibits are undoubtedly Moroccan: the daggers encrusted with stones or the rifles with their inlaid butts - and there can be no question as to the most imposing piece of all - its size and weight speak volumes!A canon 5 metres long and weighing 12 tons, used during the Battle of the Three Kings.
Borj-Nord MuseumFezTel. (212 5) 64 52 41

The Unique Fez Style: Tiles

Moroccan inspired interior design and architecture has a warm, spicy flair-the perfect theme to create a private exotic oasis getaway right in your own home. Let your creativity flow as you delve into the artistic charm of this old world culture. With several official languages, Morocco is a crossroad of many cultures and styles. Often used as a source of inspiration for painters, writers and hippies, Morocco can be seen as a captivating oasis. The Moroccan style is so hot right now.

Moroccan tiles also know as Moorish tiles or Zillij mosaic tile, Zellidj, Zillij, Zellij, zellige and is an important element Moorish and Moroccan architecture and decorating. The word tile is derived from the French word tuile, which is, in turn, derived from the Latin word tegula, meaning a roof tile composed of baked clay.
The process of production begins by mixing clay and water and kneeling them by hands and feet until they reach a high level of flexibility and homogeneity. Then, the mixture is cut into squares of 1 cm thickness each. The squares get dried up under the sun before they are put in a special oven for their first phase baking. The tiles are placed in different levels according to the degree of temperature required to attain a particular color. The white tile is often placed in the bottom followed by the blue, yellow, and the green on the top. The second phase starts removing the tiles from the oven and separate them by their colors; once done with this process, they start drawing the patterns of the intended design directly on tiles; this is done by ‘rasham’ followed by the cutting process which is performed by ‘naqqash’ who carefully separate the drawn pattern by a sharpened hammer. Last but not least, ‘khallas’ or finisher finishes the work by cutting the tiles’ edges assuring that they meet all requirements for production. With the help of a team, the zillij master draws the design layout on the ground and places each furmah or piece of tile in its exact place in the overall pattern. Interestingly enough, the placement of tiles is done upside down, which makes it even more difficult to absorb.

The art of handcrafting Moroccan tiles remained very limited in use until the Merinid dynasty who gave it more importance around the 14th century. Blue, red, green and yellow colours were introduced in the 17th century. The old enamels with the natural colours were used until the beginning of the 20th century and the colors had probably not evolved much since the period of Merinids. The cities of Fes and Meknes remain the centers of this art.

Moroccan tiles and the art of mosaic tiles dates back many centuries in the old city of fez in Morocco. Handmade, hand-glazed and hand-cut Moroccan mosaics are crafted using traditional and regional organic clays and glaze pigments. Moroccan tiles are historic tiles dated many centuries ago from the famous Al Hambra palaces and Granada in Spain to the luxurious homes in Fez Morocco. Moroccan tiles are rich of complex geometric patterns that refflect the beauty of the ancien art of geometry.

New Flights to Fez

Our beloved Ryanair will be starting new direct flights to Fez from Alicante and Seville both on the 8th of July. Departing Wednesdays and Sundays the new flights will give Fez a new latino flavour with many tourists wanting to enjoy the true soul of Morocco and the nest of a civilization that shared so much with Spain until the 'Reconquista' in 1492.

In Return Sevilla has a lot to offer to the discerned traveller including memorable hangovers caused by 'rebujito' and the all time famous Giralda.

Alicante is the door to the Costa Blanca with plenty of charming beaches in is province inlcuding Javea and Santa Pola,and the (un)famous Benidorm. Lively atmosphere and gentle climate all year round.

Good luck with the stewardess.

Ten Things Not To Do in Fez

(and what to do instead)

1-Do Not Stay in a Hotel in the new town.
*Stay instead in one of many wonderfully restored Riads in the Medina. is one of our favourites.
2-Do not take an oficial guide to visit the Medina. They for sure will explain interesting things, but they will push you to buy in his friend’s shops –where they take about 40 % comission- and eat in the touristy venues -where they take as well 40 % comission-
*Buy yourself a good guide such as Lonely Planet ‘Fez Encounters’, follow some advice, and get lost in its maze of tiny streets. Its completely safe.

3-Do not take pictures of people or shops without asking. They will think you are rude and that you are stealing something from them.
*Instead ask them permission and include them in the photo, you may end with an invitation for a real moroccan lunch in its home.

4-Do not accept their first price when buying goods.
*If you want to earn some respect bargain about one third less of the starting price, more if you know what are you buying. And please dont waste one hour for 1 euro reduction in that silly bracelet.

5-Do not eat at the usual Bab Boujelloud tourist restaurant (if you do dont look at the kitchen).
*Try unexplored new places like the delightful , or the centrical

6-Do not buy the usual chilaba, they’re made in china anyway.
*buy a nice pair of soft leather babouches, to wear nonchalantly with jeans the way Gatsby does.

7-Do not take a bus even if you are curious ora an enviromentalist. They're overcrowded and the emissions paralel the Chernobyl disaster.
*Take a Petit Taxi and sit in the front seat like the locals, adding ‘lakhlik’ (which means please) to whatever destination you may go.

8-Do not have a drink in a hotel bar. Dont be fooled, those are for shabby moroccan characters in search of alcohol.
*Head to trendy Mezzanine ( with its cool DJ or underground Fez Lounge for a relaxing time.

9-Do not underestimate local wines or beer
*Try Domaine de Sahari rouge, or the incrediby good value Guerrouane in all varieties. And Casablanca beer is a must.

10-Do not use your cell phone, even to recieve calls, the communications between Morocco and Europe are VERY expensive.
*Buy instead a Maroc Telecom phone card dor 50 dh (5 euros) that will assure you about 25 minutes of blablabla to explain your latest funny situation.

Your Own Private House

If you are not the regular tourist and you like to do things your own way you may consider renting a fully furnished house in the medina, where you can do pretty much what you like, like exploring the medina, cooking your own food, watch a huge selection of Dvd's, throw sexy parties or do whatever you feel. propose this vibrant house mix of moroccan-harem-meets-italian-elegance. For as little as 100 euros a night you will have the house at your disposal and they will bring you breakfast in the morning and treat you...well, as a pacha.

Maison Fez

As many of you probably will know Maison Blanche is a parisian restaurant-club that boasts one of the best dining experiences in the french capital with breathtaking views of the Tour Eiffel. The kitchen is responsibility of the archifamous chefs and brothers Pourcel.

Well now the good news is that the group has just opened a gorgeous venue in Fez, just opposite the Jnan Palace Hotel, were you can dine, have a drink or light one of the luxurios cigars they have in their cave. In the menu the Pourcel Brothers propose a fusion of multicultural delicacies and some hearty choices like the fillet Rossini, a Gatsby's favourite.

Fez still has it...and U2 kwew it

The band began work on their twelfth album No Line on the Horizon in 2006, but the material was shelved. The band subsequently chose to begin writing and recording for the album with producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno in June 2007. A two-week trip to Fez where the six recorded led to the band experimenting with North African sounds and indicating the album would be more experimental than their previous efforts. They fell in love with the magic of Fez and in return the city inspired them one of his most accomplished works, follow the link to check the song out, with a Christo-like wrapped medina preserving its millenary secrets...

U2 have sold more than 150 million albums worldwide and have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band. In 2005, the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone magazine listed U2 at #22 in its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.
And here you have an extra link to see the making of the video and some beautiful Fez spots.

Belghazi Museum

The Belghazi Museum

Offers similar artwork to Dar Batha, but you can buy it here if you like! The museum is housed inside a palace and is a good, if pricey, place to enjoy some mint tea.
19 Derb Ghorba, Medina
tel: 035 741 178 (info)

Cool Lounge..

Our friends from Fez Lounge, the most original restaurant hidden in the Medina, have promised us an special gift, and this is our gift to you!
Pay them a visit, try the Chicken Taboule, try the Tagine kefta, try the Feta Salad, or just the free shisha with some cool drinks!

Nejjarine Museum of Wood

The Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts

Is a beautifully restored building with a nice little rooftop cafe. The objects on display dont impress thata much but the museum was is a visit just for the building itself and the lovely square in which is situated.

Sacred Music Festival 2009

The spirit of Morocco’s ancient holy city of Fes inspired the creation of the Sacred Music Festival. It is now recognised as one of the world’s great musical events, with visitors converging on the city from all over the globe for the festival week. They come for intimate performances that take place under a great Barbary oak in the gardens of the Batha Museum – and for big events staged with Arabian Nights splendour in the Bab Makina palace courtyard.

In 2009, the Fès Festival’s theme is built around the Tree of Life – as universal a symbol among different cultures as music. This year’s lineup of performers brings many branches to the tree from across the globe and features, among others, Lebanese singer Marcel Khalifé; American gospel star Marwa Wright; The Whirling Dervishes of Konya from Turkey; and pre-Christian Celtic legends from Loreena McKennitt, as well as dancers and musicians from India, Iran, Spain, and several other countries.

For more information and complete schedule visit the official website:

Batha Museum in Fez

This Hispano-Moorish palace dating from the end of the XIXth century houses some admirable collections of traditional art from Fez. Sculpted wood, wrought iron, sculpted plaster or decorative materials that are in fact works of art in their own right. Embroidery, carpets, jewellery and coins compete with one another to attract the visitor's attention.
But the museum's centrepiece is to be found in the pottery room. The most beautiful of all Moroccan ceramic objects were made by Fez craftsmen. Specialists in this technique since the Xth century, they invented the famous "fez blue" obtained by the use of cobalt. On a background of white enamel or highlighted in colour, the stylised floral motifs interweave in a manner that is as sophisticated as it is harmonius.Not to be missed: the astrolabes. These astronomical instruments created and prefected by learned Arabs, with all the mystery of a talisman and all the beauty of a jewel.
Dar Batha MuseumPlace du Batha FezTel. (212 55) 63 41 16

Wild nitght in: aphrodisiacs in Fez

Our search for better sex is never-ending. For thousands of years lovers have been on the look out for all kinds of magic substances, foods, activities and herbs helping to influence their erotic life. Today these substances are known as aphrodisiacs. Named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexual love and sensuality, an aphrodisiac is anything that turns you on.

When tourism becomes a marathon of visiting museums, panoramic views and tombs, its time to give it a break. Program a romantic night in and make your partner feel special. Here is a list of aphrodisiacs that might do the trick if help is required:

Chocolate: if only by releasing those love endorphines, chocolate can arouse amorous feelings. External application in syrup form can also help establish the mood.

Damiana: a wild yam, damiana is said to contain natural chemicals that can increase genital sensitivity and even induce erotic dreams.

Asparagus: Phallic shape aside, asparagus contains high levels of potassium, phosphorus, calcium and vitamin E, all of wich can contribute to sex hormone production.

Chilli Peppers: not only do they chemically stimulate nerve endings, induce sweating and raise the pulse, they can also stimulate the release of endorphins to bring on the mood.

Oysters: commonly believed to be an aphrodisiac, the obscenely slippery oyster is actually rich in zinc, which is an essential mineral that can increase production of testosterone.

Gingko: though often taken for memory loss, gingko can also help with erection loss. The release of nitric oxide widens blood vessels and increases blood flow.

Best for erotic massage:

Basil is known as an aphrodisiac with sweet energizing aroma. Basil can arouse the basic sexual instincts. The essential oil of basil is used for reawakening a sexual relationship, for erotic massage, and as an aphrodisiac for seduction. Blends with bergamot and clary sage.

Ylang Ylang is one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs. Increases libido and attraction between lovers. Gives energy and eroticism. Blends with jasmine, bergamot, rose, citrus oils.

Not so good idea:

Yohimbe: yohimbe bark contains an amino acid called arginine that can stimulate the nervous system and increase blood flow to the genitals. However, anxiety, nausea and raised blood pressure can put a bit of a damper on the proceedings.

Spanish fly: not a fly and not strictly from Spain. That basically sums up the lies behind this potentially deadly aphrodisiac. The illegal aphrodisiac of lore is actually made from the dried husk of a beetle. Its alarming effect is to produce irritation in the genital membranes, but it is also very dangerous and result in kidney malfunction, intestinal hemorrhaging and even death. Not so sexy after all.

Daytrips from Fez

Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672–1727), before it was relocated to Rabat. Among the most impressive elements of the imperial city was the grand gate named after the architect, El-Mansour, a Christian renegade who converted to Islam. It was completed 5 years after Moulay Ismail's death, in 1732. The design of the gate plays with Almohad patterns. It has zellij mosaics of excellent quality. The marble columns were taken from the Roman ruins of Volubilis. The story tells that when completed, Moulay Ismail inspected the gate, asking El-Mansur if he could do better. El-Mansur felt complied to answer yes, making the sultan so furious he had him executed. Its medina its much smaller than the Fes one, but its well preserved and a nice place to bargain for carpets.
You can easily get there by train, taxi or bus. Train is best and takes about one hour.

Volubilis features the best preserved ruins in this part of northern Africa. In 1997 the site was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In antiquity, Volubilis was an important Roman town situated near the westernmost border of Roman conquests. The site contains the Mansion containing the mosaic of the Labours of Hercules, the Baths of Gallienus and Baths of Forum with their fragmentary mosaics, the House of Orpheus and its Dolphin mosaic and Orpheus Myth and many more amazing sights. Unfortunately is difficult to get there by public transportation, so its best to rent a car or arrange a private taxi.

Ifrane is a modern european looking and green little town with a very famous english speaking university, it is a good base to explore the area and in cold winter you can even do some ski in near Michliffen. The area is a very popular week-end destination for moroccans and therefore it is very busy on saturdays, sundays and holidays.

The cedar tree forest is unique. Today, unfortunately, it is only seen as a destination for a short excursion with chances to feed monkeys. Don't do it, and don't try to buy one, customs in the airports ain't what used to be.

Lunch Option

Our spies have discovered that our favourite lounge in the medina, Fez Lounge, has changed his menu, and now they propose a delicious chicken taboulé inspired in Lebanon, Feta goat salad, or the original Pastilla filled with fish. And with now a menu for two called 'Moroccan Feast' at 150 dh each (15 euros) you really dont have any excuse not to go! in 95, Zkak Rouah Tala Kbira FEZ MEDINA

Have a look

Just relax, Hammam Time

Hammām is from the Arabic root "ḥmm" with a general meaning of "heat". The word ḥammām simply means "bathroom" or "toilet" in many dialects of vernacular Arabic, while it means hot springs or spa town in other dialects.
A typical hamam consists of three interconnected basic rooms similar to its Roman ancestors: the 'sıcaklık' (or hararet -caldarium) which is the hot room, the warm room (tepidarium) which is the intermediate room and the 'soğukluk' which is the cool room, but that may vary from one hamam to another, and depending on the country.
Getting to know -and love- Fez can be a tiresome process that involves walking slopes up & down during hours, rub shoulders with pitiless donkeys and bargaining goods you dont really want during large amounts of time. You will need some pampering. Threat yourself to a traditional hamam in the medina and experience a real 'gommage' (scrubbing of your whole body), or head to ville nouvelle for a luxurious spa. Here is our selection:

Ain Azliten Hamam

Arguably the cleanest of them all in the medina, yet not the arab dream you may dream of. Different times for men and women, this is not Sweden. It costs around 40 dh (4 euros), and its opposite the parking car.
(dont dream, the photo is not from this hamam)

Hammam de Guerniz

A hidden gem, no tourists ever go to this very old hammam in one of the oldest neighbourhoods of the city. The street is called Derb el Hamam, just ask direcctions. 10 dh the entrace, black soap 1 dh, but note that as a tourist you may be charged double. women 10h to 20h, men 21h to 24h.

Seffarine Hammam

This hammam has been chosen to be completely renovated with italian funds, but is not yet finished. Once the lifting is done it will probably be the amongst the prefered. Similar prices.
Off the square Seffarine.


Located in the skirts of the Ville Nouvelle, its worht a visit if you are a luxury spa lover. They have gym, pool, hairdresser, sauna and tradicional hammam. At 100 dh the 'gommage' is not overpriced and will leave you feeling incredibly healthy. Avenue BahniniRoute Aïn SmenFès + 212 (0) 35 61 00 06

Yuba spa

specialist in thai massage, but they also offer traditional hammam that can be enjoyed alone or in couple. Reasonable prices yet not cheap.

Fez Tanneries

One of the highlights of your stay in Fez will be for sure the infamous Fez Tanneries. If Morocco is famous for its leather goods, it owes its reputation to the young men who work in tanneries like this one, using the same methods today that were used centuries before. The secret ingredients for a perfect dying are quite evident once you smell a peculiar perfume in the air. While most of the bazaars will provide you with some mint to avoid the smell, Gatsby always prefers its own handkerchief with some drops of Serge Lutens 'cedre'.

There are many tanneries in Fez, but the most famous are the ones located near the Karaouine mosque, the chouara tanneurs. They are really impressing and make a very good photo, so good in fact that Gatsby once used it as a setting for a catalogue of a well known spanish fashion brand.

From above the view of the men stamping the skins in the circles of color, or spreading out the vivid, yellow saffron dye, is fascinating. A walk at ground level will be something quite different altogether as you come face to face with knife wielding workers softening the leather and get a whole new perspective on hard work.

Visitors can climb to any one of the terraces belonging to the surrounding leather shops that look down on the tanners' yard, honeycombed with vats of dye and piled with skins.

Afterwards you can visit any number of leather shops and see for yourself the product of such hard work, and you'll be smoothly invited to buy, and maybe you should, because the quality of the products is often excellent and a real bargain.

What to Eat

Is an elaborate meat pie traditionally made of pigeons, but chicken is more often used today; pastilla can also use fish as a filling and its truly delicious, in that case is served without sugar on top. It is typical of Morocco and highly regarded as a national dish; variants are also found elsewhere in the Maghreb.
It is a pie which combines sweet and salty flavours; a delicious combination of crisp layers of the crêpe-like warka dough, savory meat slow-cooked in broth and spices and shredded, and a crunchy layer of toasted and ground almonds, cinnamon, and sugar. Pastilla requires lots of time and ingredients, so is amongst the most expensive dishes you ll find, prepare to pay from 70 dh to 150dh depending on the restaurant.

Does anyone ignore what is it?Couscous is as old as pasta. In fact, many historians argue that couscous pre-dates pasta, with references to couscous dating back as far as the 10th century. Scholars debate whether couscous originated in West Africa or North Africa (Berber), but today, couscous is considered a Moroccan specialty. But really the only thing you have to care of is whether you order it made of chicken, lamb or vegetables.

Is a type of dish found in the North African cuisines of Morocco, which is named after the special pot in which it is cooked. Tajines are slow-cooked stew braised at low temperatures, resulting in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. They often combine lamb or chicken with a medley of ingredients or seasonings: olives, quinces, apples, raisins, prunes, datess.
You will find them in every single menu: chicken tagine, beef tagine, and most rare in restaurants lamb tagine and fish tagine and our beloved and strongly recommended kefta tagine (meatballs in a sauvory tomato sauce, topped with an egg).

Harira is the traditional soup of Morocco. It is usually eaten during dinner in the holy month of Ramadan to break the fasting day. But is truly a meal in itself, and they keep eating it all the time. It is also served to relatives and friends after a special celebration, such as the morning after a wedding night, and its recipe varies then slightly from the harira eaten during Ramadan. It is usually served with dates and other favorite dried fruits like figs or with traditional honey sweets.

Another favorite, this time a snack or a light tapas-dish. A briouate consists of a triangle or half-moon of flaky filled pastry, but the most elegant look like sringrolls, deep-fried in oil until golden crisp. Moroccan briouates found in the street are made of almond paste, but we really prefer the salty ones, filled with fish specially, but really they can be filled with anything: cheese, spinach, etc. Other favorite fillings are chopped meat or merguez, highly spiced lamb sausages.

Lamb M'choui
This most famous and interesting Moroccan lamb dish traditionally involves rubbing a whole lamb with a paste of butter, peppers and cumin and pit roasting it until crisp and golden, but tender within. It is served at the center of the table so that each guest can tear pieces from the bone with pieces of Moroccan crisp-textured bread. M’choui is served with bowls of ground cumin, coarse salt and red pepper so that everyone can season it to their own liking. You will hardly find it in restaurants, or they may ask you to book ahead, because it takes long time, but if you do, just go for it.

Moroccan Wines

With the giant horseshoe of the Atlas mountain range walling off the desert expanses of the interior, Morocco (unlike its neighbours Algeria and Tunisia) turns its back on the east Atlantic. Along the coast, winters are cold and summer evenings surprisingly brisk, creating cool microclimates Morocco's viticultural history stretches back before Phoenician and Roman times to the country's Berber origins. Much later, in the 9th century, the country's first Arab dynasty is said to have given the Berber tribes around Meknes a dispensation to make wine. Then, despite Koranic strictures on consumption, grapes continued to be grown and wine drunk in the Arab era. It was the Arabs, after all, who introduced distillation methods to Europe, bequeathed us the word 'al-kohl' and left an Andalucian poetic legacy extolling the virtues of wine.

Medaillon rouge
Produced with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Syrah, Medaillon is well known for its full body and it ages gracefully into a velvety wine of pure elegance.

El Mogador rouge produced with Muscat Noir, Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. Its a powerful wine with plenty of spices and well structured. Its one of our favourites.

Domaine de Sahari rouge
A 1200-hectare estate, 600 hectares planted with vines, at the foot of the High Atlas mountains (Meknès Province) in the town of Ait Yazem, located on the fertile plains of the Saïs, in Morocco. Harvested by hand and processed in the traditional manner, this wine has a unique character.
Grenache (20%) - Cinsault (20%) - Carignan (50%) Alicante (10%).
Les Celliers de Meknès estate cover nearly 2000 hectares of vineyards divided among four of Morocco's most prestigious designations : AOG Guerrouane, AOG Beni M'tir, AOG Berkane and the country's only AOC, Les Coteaux de l'Atlas whose best parcels have been graded as "1st Cru".The Zniber family, vine growers for more than half a century, are pioneers of modern wines in Morocco.The climate of the Middle Atlas in the foothills on which their estates are situated, the elevation ranging from 580 to 700 meters, the moderate rainfall and generous sunshine all provide the vineyards with an exceptional site unrivaled in Morocco.

Beni M'Tir Rouge
The Appellation Beni M'tir is a region of northern Morocco, located south to the imperial city of Meknes at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. This area has been known for producing fine wines for more than 2000 years at the times of the Romain Empire. The Amazi'gh vineyards are at an altitude of 700 meters and benefit from a dry-sunny climate and time-rich clay soils giving powerful, full-bodied, expressive wines.Carignan, Cinsault & Alicante create this exotically fruited wine.

Guerrouane Rouge
Produced from Carignan, Cinsault (Rhone varietals), Alicante (southern Italy) and Grnache.Full-bodied, yet soft, with ripe tannins and loads of fruit.
Guerrouane Gris
100% cinsault.Fresh, lively, pairs well with salads, roasted fish and spicy dishes.
Ksar blanc
This wine is characterized by a nose of ripe fruits. The complex and rich mouth is supported by an acidulous final that offers him balance and freshness.
Vin de Cepage Sauvignon Blanc
This “Sauvignon Blanc” is characterized by a yellow dress with green reflects. Peach and citrus fruit aromas precede a fresh palate supported by a well balanced acidity.

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