New Year's Eve in Fez




So once again Christmas has come with its endless promises of world peace, new perspectives, perfumes that make you irresistible to the opposite sex and fantastic devices to get in shape while you are watching TV and eating muffins. And suddenly everyone is stressed about where are they gonna spend the last night of the year. Well, luckily here in Fez we have plenty of options; starting with a super luxurios party in Maison Blanche with live music at 1.400 dirhams is not cheap but well worth the money if jetsetting is your thing,
Booking essential: 05 35 62 27 27
. Palais Amani offers a night filled with a 5 course menu at 750 dhs per person, and booking is essential on the
0535 633 209.

Riad Fez will be throwing another good party and more information can be gathered in their web. The yougsters can go to the always funky O'Club in Route d'Imouzzer, starting at 21h and finishing at 5 am, is the perfect party for hangover lovers. Gatsby and some friends will be heading to the Fez Lounge that is proposing an affordable dinner party mostly for expatriates living cooly in the medina and eventual tourist just looking for some fun, at 250 dirhams for a two course menu with a promising tiramisú as dessert, it wont break anyone's bank, and reservation is strongly recommended, writing an email to fezlounge@gmail.com

New flights to Fez (6): Rome and Cologne


Again Gatsby comes back to you with a precious gift: the news that our fashionable Fez is one more time enlarging its selection of direct flights. Rome and Cologne are added to a growing list that includes already London, Paris, Barcelona (actually Girona), Madrid, Milano, and many others. The move is part of a plan issued by Gatsby's closest friends that foresees Fez as the new capital of the world, putting New York, Tokio and London to shame.
Ryanair, the favourite arline for people who travel without luggage, is responsable for the Rome Ciampino flight, that will start operating on November Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
The eternal city at reach of hand is a luxury that Gatsby plans to enjoy with moderation: the famous Gilda club -kind of an italian Studio 54- is like a black hole that sucks you in along with your money. But then there is La Fontana de Trevi, where if you're drunk enough you can try and pick up some coins to pay your last Martini. The Vatican with its Rafaello 'Stanze' is a total must along with the smelly Sistine Chapel. And one of the cutest museums in the world, the Villa Borghese, makes the perfect setting to declare eternal love to someone for a while.

Cologne will be connected to Fez thanks to Air Arabia, a low cost airline that looks better than some mainstream ones. Cologne, the fourth largest city in Germany and the one that gives name to the famous refreshing water everyone should use, is widely known for its Gothic cathedral, the tallest of the world. The city suffered a lot the bombings of the Second World War, but everything was reconstructed like only the Germans know how to do, while other buildings were contructed with some modern architectures, which contributes to make the city very much alive and attractive on the whole. Cologne is famous as well for its huge offer on Restaurants and Bars and nightlife, one that at least has not -yet- being perverted by Gatsby and his entourage.



Fez Ramadan 2010: Gatsby's Etiquette


As you may imagine, Gatsby is the evolution of Phileas Fogg and has lived and experienced several different countries always respecting and learning from their cultures and traditions: Spain, Italy, England, France, Russia; Gatsby holds an Honorific PhD from the 'University of Life'. Morocco and Fez could not be an exception; while some people think Ramadan is not a good time to visit Morocco, Gatsby says 'Bring 'em on!' Its a great time to be in contact with the most sacred part of the Muslim religion, a month where fasting during daytime is the highlight, but above all is a period of humility, self-sacrifice, and inner-discovery.
As a foreigner, you can see it as a pintoresque picture, or, as Lawrence Sterne would approve of, you can approach it as a sentimental traveller, try to experience their beliefs and who knows, you may end up learning something about yourself.
In any case, Respect is always the gentleman's most important 'Virtú', and during the Holy month of Ramadan you will now eat nor drink in public spaces; in the Fez Medina specially you will dress properly and the girls will keep their sexy outfits for when roller-skating in L.A.
You will also tip more generously than usual and will practice charitable giving in the measure of your possibilities. Then and only then the veil that covers magically Fez will dissapear to show you part of its mistery. Ramadan Mabrouk.

The Fez Monopoly


Gatsby, the master of all games and one of the best references when speaking of having fun, is offering you the printable version of the one and only Fez Monopoly, to fully enjoy with your moroccan and expatriate friends alike.
Inspired by the real life transactions that have been taking place in the Fez Medina for quite a long time, pumping up the prices and making it one of the most sought-after investment places in Morocco, this new Monopoly offers you the possibility of finally buy that property you always dreamed of...and finally was impossible to buy due to the 2.000 heirs involved in the process.
The Monopoly of Fez is played with dollars because is simply the most loved currency all over the world, and Fes has buyers from all over the world. Most of the rules stay the same as in the classic game, except fo the 'Go to Jail' card: in here you have the option of bribing the police. Of course when you own all the properties of the same colour you can start building a house; it will take you another 25 rounds to finish your house, but when you do it, after three houses you can have finally a Riad. The worst Chance card is 'The Wilaya asks you to build a second staircase and a fire exit in all your houses', but dont worry, if you're lucky enough you may have the best Community Chest card: 'The Pacha is your friend, use this card for pretty much anything'.

New Flights to Fez (5)

The sexy residents of our beloved city of Fes and the people willing to visit the most extraordinary Medina in the world are getting lucky again.
Ryanair, the only airline capable of selling lottery in the skies and pretend that the profits go to charities, has announced two new connections to the Fes-Saiss airport.
Starting on November 2 FEZ- PARIS (BEAUVAIS), on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Starting on November 5 FEZ- BOLOGNA, on Mondays and Fridays.
Fes is already connected with Paris through Jet4you, Royal Air Maroc and Transavia, but we hope this Ryanair route will challenge the competitors prices.
Bologna will be a complete novelty for Fez, and the third italian destination following Milano (Bergamo) and Pisa. Gatsby is no stranger to Bologna and all its beautiful surroundings, furthermore, his family owns a lovely Hotel close to the gorgeous city of Mantova, www.villamontanarini.com.
Ravenna is another jewel close by and is not to be missed, Oscar Wilde loved it and wrote one of his best poems in its honour. Parma, Modena and Ferrara are also worth a visit. Bologna itself is a city full of energy, with one of the oldest universities of the world and is packed with inexpensive trattorie where casual food turns into a god's delight.
And remember, you saw it first in Fez Guide.




Carrefour and Virgin Megastore in Fez

As anyone living this side of Tanger knows, the spiritual capital Fes is a city on the move; lots of projects including total rehabilitation of the Medina, a new train station that has already been opened, enlarging the airport times 4, a new bunch of luxury hotels and... a Carrefour and a Virgin Megastore. The project is already under works and will be conveniently located in between the medina and the new town, inside the future Al Mazar Mall. The last april the first Al Mazar Mall opened in Marrakech, the only moroccan city where the taxis are as expensive as London and people is happy to rip you off with a smile, and proved to be a complete success. The first day more than 80.ooo people visited the mall, 40.000 of those going straight to Carrefour. Although smaller in size -still around 70.000 sq m so don't worry-, boutiques, restaurants, green zones, and pretty much the same concept will see the light in Fez at some point during 2011. Below you've got some pics of the newly opened Al Mazar in Marrakech, as you can see, is looking sexy.


Ten Things to Do Before you Die

The Dalai Lama once said to Gatsby:

"If you desire Happiness, you should seek the causes that give rise to it, and repeat them, and if you don't desire suffering, then what you should do is to ensure that the causes and conditions that give rise to it no longer arise"

You see, it's simple.
Here we have compiled a list that will put you in the right path. And you can practice (almost) them all in Fez.

1. Go on an adventurous vacation by yourself. You'll learn about yourself.
2. Fall passionately in love. Emotional safety is no good.
3. Visit the Fes medina with a lover. Whether it lasts or not, you'll always remember.
4. Ride in a Hot air balloon. Don't jump up and down.
5. Camp out in the Desert, maybe in Merzouga. Escape from civilization and clarity will come.
6. Spend a week in a rented Riad. Enjoy sheer indulgence.
7. Throw yourself a spectacular birthday party. Doesn't have to be expensive, just grand.
8. Assemble a photo album of your life, and not in Facebook. You will see that your life has a story.
9. Have a portrait of yourself done. Everyone should be immortalized for posterity.
10. Let go of the past. It's there to remember, not to cling to.


First Sex-Shop to Open in Fez?


Well, unfortunately the answer is: not yet. It has not been progressive Morocco but the tiny Kingdom of Bahrain that has opened the first Sex-Shop in a Muslim country. Furthermore, the proud owner is a practising muslim woman, Dar Khadija, and declares: 'Nothing in Islam forbids sexual pleasure. Ask that question to any devout Muslim and he will not tell you otherwise', and she insist that 'The feedback from the clientele has been good. One of my customers told me that I saved his marriage, just as he was about to get divorced'. The shop has had an incredible success, and even neighbours from strict Saudi Arabia drive happily about 20 miles to go there and purchase some items to enjoy back home in its (in)famous not so-muslim indoor parties. Sexy underwear, stimulant jelly, dildos, adult board games and much more is on sell to spice up the life of a married couple. Gatsby, who has seen in all in this life and even partly in the next one is very happy with the initiative, and he has no doubts something similar would be more than welcomed in Morocco, where women take legendary care of themselves and their men and rank amongst the first buyers of luxury underwear in the world.



Fez to Ifrane: The Michlifen Suites & Spa Hotel


If you remember 'The Little Prince', the tiny jewel from Saint-Exupéry that we should be reading more often, there is a passage that says:

Grown-ups love figures (...) If you were to say to the grown-ups: “I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof,” they would not be able to get an idea of that house at all. You have have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $20.000.000.” Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!”

Assuming you're a grown-up I will tell you that it took 790 million dirhams (around 70 million Euros) to bring it back to life this hotel in the biggest facelift in history, with permission of Berlusconi. The Michlifen Hotel instantly became a landmark when first opened in 1973, surrounded by a cedar forest in the highest spot of Ifrane. Such a place could not escape from the hedonist eyes -and the rest of the body- of Gatsby. When he first visited the place it was still under renovation, but his dearest friend slept there and told him that he had never seen such a place in Morocco, and barely anywhere in the world, leaving Gstaad apart.
The Michlifen Ifrane Suites & Spa counts 70 rooms all boasting luxury and mountain resort glamour with Pierre Frey linen, has a 3.500 sq m Spa with all kind of treatments, a 2.500 sq m gym, exterior and interior swimming pools and a helicopter runway for the VIP's. The gorgeous interiors are blessed with Ralph Lauren furniture and others. It belongs to the same group as La Mamounia of Marrakech, which gives you an idea of the standards.
The prices are the only thing that bring you back to reality, the rooms start at 5.000 dirhams up to 80.000 dirhams for the 800 sq m Royal Suite. But don't worry, if you're not Terry Benedict you can go only to enjoy the restaurant, their chef was trained with the famous Pourcel brothers and it will cost you around 500 dh per person. And if none of the above suggestions convince you just head towards the bar, where you are likely to find Gastby begging for happy hour on Champagne magnums...Bollinger '69, of course.




Weekend Away: Fez to the North of Morocco


As you may very well guess Gatsby's friends rank from the lowest scum of society to the highest possible classes, including some retired celebrities, photographers, actresses, models and even some just very nice people. Were exactly those last ones that made me discover the north of Morocco more than two years ago. Fez can get very hot in summer, and from time to time you need some days in the beach like you would do elsewhere in the world.
But where do moroccans go? I was asking myself. It's very simple: they just follow the King, after all if he is the King he must know better. And he does. He spends the Summer in a palace close to Cabo Negro, between Ceuta and Tetouan. He practises some jet-ski, sails in his magnificent boat and eats from the same cook that runs our favourite restaurant up there: 'Les Vitamines de la Mer', in Martil.
From Fes it takes about 4 hours by car, and there is really not other way of going, unless you take a horrible bus and then a taxi in tetouan, which Gatsby is not doing again. But the trip is totally worht it: nice beaches, good food, sangria when sunbathing, some nightscene, kind weather, and every known head from the Fez, Casablanca and Rabat 'elites'.
If you go, try to stay in Marina Smir or Kabila, where charming villas and apartments are surrounded by green beauty, and if no one of your friends invites you to their house you can always go to the nice Barcelo Smir Hotel or to the Kabila Hotel, or simply change friends.



Imminent Threat to Morocco

Informers from different sources that would put the Mossad to shame have told Gatsby that this man is about to land in Fez and establish his headquarters in our holy city for an indefinite period.
This man is extremely dangerous. We repeat: this man is extremely dangerous.
If you see him contact immediately the Fez Guide redaction or call our special emergency line, and DO NOT TRY to approach him.
He speaks different languages without accent, is a master in camouflage and has repeatedly eluded the police for the last 31 years. His criminal CV is highly regarded in the London and Madrid underworld and includes: serial womanising, pretending to be a psychologist to treat anorexic models, traffic of chorizo, lomo, ham and other pork derivades, and stepping into taxis in Fez carrying alcohol bottles.
May God be with us.

Made in M, Gifts & Cookies, Fes Medina



The tourist is always asking himself what are the good bargains to buy in such a place as Fes: babouches?, carpets?, some pottery?, a chilaba?, some hash? Well, yes, you can buy all of those, but then again Gatsby has something new for you. In the Tala Kbira, not far from Ain Azliten, Made in M reopens its doors under new management and with a totally different look, as glamorous and as beautiful as its new owner. Made in M offers you all kind of traditional moroccan cookies and pastries: corne de gazelle, griba, etc, either to take away in lovely crafted boxes or to degustate 'sur place' with some juice or good mint tea. And they also provide pleasure to the rest of your senses with a nice selection of oils, perfumes, candles, books and much more in this tiny little gem of a shop.


Marjane My Love, Fez Supermarket


As anyone living in the lovely Medina of Fez knows, the street markets and the grocery shops can provide you with pretty much everything you can dream of, including the best truly organic vegetables and fruits. But once in a while is good going back to our roots and experience once again the western way of shop. Is not unusual that Gatsby runs out of Gin in the middle of the week, or that suddenly he has an irresistible whim for oysters. In those cases you run to Marjane. At a merely 5 km from the medina, just opposite the Zalagh Parc Palace Hotel, and exactly at 14 dirhams from Ain Azliten, you'll find this huge supermarket -the first chain in Morocco- where you'll be able to find everything from bread to towels, from flat plasma screens to beers and spirits. Cleaning products, socks, cheese, ham, scooters, medicines...the list is almost never ending in its 6500 sqm. The fish is freshly delivered twice a week and the bakery has specially good cakes.
As a foreigner, we all had the same thought the very first time we stept in: 'I CAN live in Fez'.
And even now, years after our first 'affaire', our love story with Marjane continues, and I'm already thinking in my date with her on Monday, as usual.
Gatsby says let's play one game, is called: 'which photo was taken in Fez?'


Best Places for Secret Dating in Fez

As one of the best regarded members of the Fez 'intelligentzia', Gatsby faces several requests a day about what to do in the Medina, where to eat, how much does it cost this or that, etc etc. During the last months people seem to be thinking of only one thing, and couples and wannabe lovers have been asking the same question again and again: Where can we go for a secret date?
Luckily Gatsby has been working hard so you can really succeed in conquering her/his heart away from the public eye.

Swimming Pool in Riad Alkantara
Spend a few hours in the gorgeous swimming pool surrounded by beautiful gardens. Drink sangria, talk about life and play cheeky underwater games like the ones you played when you were 14.

Bar of the Hotel Batha
In this old fashioned retreat you will hardly find anyone known -or anyone at all-, but the place makes a good setting for long beer chats and love declarations. Most of the time not even a waiter is there.

Fes et Gestes
Not that secret on the outside, you can still have some privacy on the inner rooms and pretend you're a big Proust fan in the good library: 'I swear, the first 825 pages of In Search of Lost Time always make me cry...'

Backroom at Fez Lounge
Perfect to hide in the Medina, plus you get a leather bed to relax with your drinks or dinner. You could even start some action here, and no one would know.

Mount Zalagh
Looking for somethig casual-chic? Take her/him on a picnic to the Zalagh Mountain and enjoy a privileged view of the Medina of Fez. Bring foie-gras, smoked salmon, caviar and a bottle of Bollinger '69. Doesn't get more Bond than that.

Mezzanine's First Floor
Not as exposed as the terrace, the first floor provides you with the right space for a secret lunch or dinner hidden from the fashionnable crowd upstairs, specially if you face the windows in the left table.

Yuba Spa
Already more than friends? Surprise him/her with a private room for two including the Hammam ritual and massage in a very Emmanuelle-like environment. 400 dirhmas aprox each and the whole treatment lasts about 2 hours.

Zen Garden's Upper Floor
Ask to have dinner in the upper floor of this well known restaurant, and no-one will know you even were there...except the owners, who know pretty much everyone in Fez and really like to gossip.

Relais de Paris...Meknes
Sure, Gatsby is cheating again, this is not Fez; but jump into your car and play some Julio Iglesias music for the road. Its just one hour away from Fez and your privacy is guaranteed like its secret sauce in this good french bistrot.
46, rue Oqba - Ibn Nafia - Meknès
tel. +212665186818



Royal Golf de Fes

Fes is a big city and has a lot to offer to either its lucky residents or its occasional visitors.
One of Gatsby's favourites pastimes is going to play some golf at the Royal Golf Club of Fes. Not that Gatsby has much to show off in that particular game, but as a gentleman he has to practise every kind of sport. The Royal Golf of Fes is a pleasure for the senses, designed by renamed architecte Cabell B. Robinson, it has 18 holes packed with lakes, olive trees, and multiple family flowers.
Strolling along its extremely well manicured fields makes the perfect demi-journée; temperature is always kind up there -the Golf is located 10 kilometers out of Fez, at the foot of the Atlas mountains-, and you can find all sorts of interesting people: local businessmen, funky expatriates, some politicians, tourists practising their swing, and even world top players.

You can either become a member and pay an annual fee or you can just pay by de day;
the 18 holes cost approx 550 dh, and the caddy around 100 dh.

Their website www.royalgolfdefes.ma does not seem to work.

Is better if you phone them in advance:
Tel : 00 212 (0) 5 35 66 52 10/12 – 00 212 (0) 5 35 66 50 66



Fez Palace: Dar Adiyel


Probably one of the most beautiful Music Conservatories in the world, the Dar Adiyel Palace houses the dreams of more than 100 students that excel in Andalusian Music and other disciplines like Melhoun, Samae, or Rabab. This impressive 'Dar' was restored with funds given by the Italian Government, and opened in 2001 after a deep makeover. Gatsby loves this place because of the smooth colors of its interiors, that somehow make it very contemporary without losing the charm of the old times. Some days of the week the students give public performances and then...everything makes sense: the acoustic is perfect, the volumes allow your soul to fly and the whole experience is worth the trip to this -rather forgotten- side of the medina. The entrance fee is about 10 dirhams, so it wont brake your bank account neither.
During the Festival of Sacred Music Dar Adiyel hosts every year several performances, on this 2010 was the turn of Epi, an amazing musician from Mongolia that Gatsby enjoyed to the full.

The address is Rue sidi Ahmed Chaoui, Sidi nali
Tel.0535 623 993

Fez is Cool


For some days Fez was turned into a fashion capital when Hunter & Gatti and its army of models, art directors and photographers landed in Fez to turn into a reality an special catalogue from spanish brand Mala Mujer.
Searching for the best insiders in Fez they fell into the hands of your beloved Gatsby, and he made sure they got the job done in the best possible locations and with the help of the authorities, that love all that sounds bling-bling (read money-money). But of course there were after parties in Riad Fes, lunches in Fez Lounge, and a visit around the medina that fascinates everyone. The most difficult part of it? Well you try to persuade a fassi pension owner that you need a room not to sleep but just to shoot a girl in lingerie...luckily sometimes Gatsby is able to perform Jedi tricks.

A Traditional Moroccan Wedding


When staying in Morocco one of the best experiences you will ever have is going to a real traditional wedding. Your favourite paparazzo Gatsby was invited to the most glittering wedding of the season. Names he cannot say but all the gotha of Fez and some of the most well known faces of Morocco gathered to cherish the adorable couple. But no matter if the wedding is rich or modest, the amazing musics and all the codified rituals is pretty much the same in every kind of party. You may well ask: how do you fuel a Moroccan Wedding without alcohol for 9 hours? The answer is simple: with ananas and kiwi juice, plus a backcar packed with rum, vodka and light Rose wine...and then one of Gatsby's friends was kind enough to bring a flask from Madrid that provided so much happiness under the table...In any case the food was a total bless of m'choui lamb followed with three other main dishes. And then dance, dance and dance, a lot of clapping your hands following the drum rythms...and Gatsby was on top of the table with the newly wed bride...
Tradition obliged us to go to the very door of the bedroom with the happy couple and have a last drink inside...which we enthusiastically agreed and then graciously retire...for after all we are not redtube.com.

New Club-Bar in Fez

Who said that Fez had no nightlife? Your favourite paparazzo Gatsby was invited to an extremely fun and glamorous night at a new Fez venue called ÔClub Fez. The place is located right in the Domaine Equestre off Route D'Immouzzer, which means that you can ride horses and be wasted at the same time, something completely new in Fez. On the table there were several bottles including a giant Belvedere Vodka and an astonishing Mathusalem of Moët Chandon containing around 6 litres of tears of God that Gatsby drank at ease. At some point one beautiful go-go (was it a stripper?) came to dance on top of our table and we all wondered if we were in St Tropez's Le Cave du Roi. The place is frequented by the golden young crowd from the New Town, boys and girls alike, and it's a good option to have a drink after dinner, before they pump up the volume too much.



Sacred Music Highlight, Epi


The last Fez Sacred Music festival has been a turmoil in every sense of the word; there was confusion, there was emotion, tears of joy and tears of humiliation, sometimes thanks to the performers, others being the fault of the organisation.
So one more year Gatsby was begged and bribed to go to see some of the shows, so he wore some of his Gucci shoes, instead of the common flip-flops tourists seem to get for free with their flight tickets, and got to work. The most remarkable soirée was the so called 'Night of the Medina', with several concerts going on at the same time, so even if you bought the ticked you were forced to miss several concerts: a touch of genius. Gastby attended a very special concert in Dar Adyel: mongolian performer and showman Epi was definitely a revelation that night. Dressed in typical mongolian furs and hat -and the temperature was probably around 30 C- Epi played his guitar with spirit and sung with magical voices, sometimes with a very high pitch, others with a very low one, creating a truly amazing atmosphere. Inspired in ancient buddhist and shaman traditions this kind of music believes that each and every object has a soul, and Gatsby can declare that everything surrounding the scenario came to life that evening, as a matter of fact he could almost swear that an electric toothbrush was hiding somewhere and producing those enchanted sounds...Epi is a new favourite of Gatsby.

Buy a House in Fez, with all confidence


If the idea of a relaxing life in a city listed World Heritage by the Unesco that has at the same time a medieval feeling and a modern city with all the amenities appeals to you, well, then, welcome to Gatsby's way of life.
Most people fall in love with Fez the very first time they set foot in the medina, others just need a couple of photographs in internet to send the money and buy they dreamhouse, and some decide to buy in Fez as an investment -the prices having gone steadily up since 2005, and is a perfect buy-to-let market-.
The city has undergone a lot of public works that have updated the city installations and embellished its streets, there are a bunch of really interesting hotel projects on its way -like the Barcelo Hotel- and a major mall soon to open with a Carrefour and a Virgin Megastore included.

The Medina is keeping all its ancient flavour and being polished, and all this because Mohammed VI has set his royal eyes in Fez, and is firmly decided to make it the new Moroccan wonder, like it was Marrakech long time ago, but with a soul.

The buying process has been a great deal simplified and is perfectly possible for foreigners to purchase even without speaking arabic or french; still, having a good advisor makes all the difference. Amongst all the real estate agencies that have flourhished in Fez the one we trust the most is MAROC IMMOBILIER CAPITAL, the man behind the plan, Cedric Elsener, really knows his way around. With years of experience and having sold an outstanding number of magical properties both in the Medina and in the New City, he is the man that can make it happen for you. With a well-chosen catalogue he will show you the most charming houses and the most interesting business opportunities but not only, he will also introduce you to key members of Fez that will make you feel at home straight away and who knows, if you're lucky, he might even introduce you to Gatsby.


Résidence SALAM - 32, Avenue Abdelali Benchekroun
6ème étage, Bureau N° 22
30 000 – FES VN

Tél : +212 (0) 5 35 94 08 08
Fax : +212 (0) 5 35 65 22 22

Book for Fez: Paul Bowles 'The Spider's House'

For the discerned traveller, there is nothing like organising the luggage for a dream destination. Gastby likes to use new socks in every trip, is his thing, amongst a lot more that may make him a maniac. One of the most important objects that you should take for an adventure is a good book, but not any book, a book that goes with the weather and the soul of the place.
For Fez it has never been easier, in 'The Spider's House' the French and their hated rule and maintenance of a false monarch on the throne, the pitiless Iztiqulal, the Islamic heritage of the true believers, and the narrow streets of Fez are the background for the story of young Amar, who has the gift of the baraka, and the point at which his life touches on those of John Stenham, an American writer, and Lee Veyron, also American and restlessly seeking she knows not what.
When violence erupts, they flee with Amar on a pilgrimage to a local celebration and escape the city's violence.
Pau Bowles (December 30, 1910 – November 18, 1999) lived in Morocco for the second half of his lifetime, and loved it, but had as well the critical eye to describe things in a way that today would be hardly described as politically correct. He wrote as well several articles about Fez and other moroccan cities, and remains one of the few writers that could see through topics and describe things the way Gatsby likes his steaks, raw.
So don't think twice if you're looking for a book to take you even further on your holidays, that's the perfect one.

World Sacred Music Festival, Fez

One of the major attractions of Fez is the 'Festival de Musiques Sacreés', or simply put the most significant Sacred Music Festival in the whole world. Attracting thousands of high quality tourists most interested in spiritual values than postcards, the festival is also a great excuse to visit the city of Fez and enjoy its architecture, people and gastronomy.
This year's edition will expand from the 4th till the 12th of June, and its main theme is 'initiatic travel', a motto that Gatsby is starting to apply in every little routine of his cozy medina life.
Amongst the well known guests this year: Ben Harper, Camille et Clemence Ducol, Sista Kee, David Murray, and the Royal Ballet of Cambodia, which Gatsby is particularly interested in.
All the information regarding times and prices and much more can be found in

www.fesfestival.com

Hope to see you all in the medina. Land of Gossip.

New Riad opens in Fez Medina: Riad Verus


We've got a newcomer in the ancient and lovely medina of Fez, its name is Riad Verus, and its here to stay. Noureddine and Leonora have restored -in a record time- this magnificient riad overcoming the usual difficulties with P&P -Passion and Patience-, undoubtely two of the elements you come to experience the most in the Fez medina.
Boasting five suits with bathrooms, and each room named after roman rulers, the riad is a lovely example of traditional architecture, but with all the amenities a modern traveller would need.
It is conveniently located near Batha, and with prices starting as little as 30 euros, nothing can prevent you to come to Fez and once in your room exclaim, like Nero did when he moved to his newly built Palace of the Caesars in Rome: 'at last I am lodged as a man!'


The Usual Suspects: faces in the Medina of Fez


The Fez medina is an extraordinary place filled with the most interesting characters. Some got here by chance, others in search of energy. Somebody found it on holidays, others found it on the internet and decided it was just the right place to be. They all decided to stay and enrich this already enchanting community.
We will uncover for you some of the faces that stand out from the crowd, if you happen to meet them do not be afraid to stop them, they may like to show you a different side of Fez.
We start with Alessandro Ferrando, owner of Fez Lounge (www.fezlounge.com), very popular amongst spanish and italians, but not only.
We subjected him to a famous questionnaire invented by Bernard Pivot and inspired after the famous Proust Questionnaire.

1. What it your favorite word?

-Please

2. What is your least favorite word?

-Impossible

3. What turns you on?

-The ability to turn dreams into reality

4. What turns you off?

-Bad Humour and long faces

5. What sound or noise do you love?

-The sound of the rain against a window

6. What sound or noise do you hate?

-The digital alarm-clock, only the digital, the one you have to wind is Ok, just Ok

7. What is your favorite curse word?

-Fuckity fuck

8. What profession other that yours would you like to attempt?

-Become a diplomat, they're the guardians of peace, is only when they dissapear that a war starts

9. What profession would you not like to?

-Well, I rather not work in the Fez tanneries, if you know what I mean...

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

-'You prefer smoker or non-smoker?'

The Legacy of the Fez Embroidery


Some samples of incredible hand embroidery dates back to the early 18th century, but women started this time-consuming occupation long before. As a tradition many centuries ago, women used to decorate their hands and feet with henna for special occasions, such as a wedding ceremony. The Berber tribes still use permanent tattoo symbols. Later this very decoration had been transferred onto pottery and then as hand embroidery, which became a big part of tradition.

The newborn baby often gets beautiful embroidered pillowcase, cover & sheet. A girl's dowry, which consisted of embroideries, could easily take a generation to build up. The embroidery could contain many pieces, which on her wedding day was carried to the bride's house with musicians. Before the wedding the bride-to-be would be accompanied to the hamam wearing partly embroidered clothes, such as the sleeves, belt, veil, and even her under garment, as well as a shall to carry a change of clothes, all embroidered. There were specially embroidered pieces for the henna ceremony. The fine wedding sheet made of Crepes De Chine, which was brilliantly embroidered in the ends, would later be shown to everyone at the party, to prove the virginity of the bride. The dowry was displayed at the wedding such as curtains, bedcovers, tablecloths, etc...to show the wealth of the family, and for everyone to admire the wonderful and skillful work. Sometimes the family rented out especially magnificent pieces.

Influenced by the Andaluce, cities in the north of Morocco, like Tetouan, Chaoen, Meknes, Rabat, Salé, Zemmour, and Fez are all known for their unique way of embroidery style, technique, colors, and fabric. Women from Tafilal, in the south of Morocco, Berber Jews, mainly made fantastic embroidered clothes. The fabulous wedding curtains (2 meters by 3.5 meters) from Rabat, usually very fine, transparent fabric, with floral design, where upon it a pattern was first made. The stitches are the same on both sides. This curtain gives most incredible shadow effect on the wall as the light hits it.

Fez embroidery is likely to be the most celebrated of them all. Easy to identify because of its highly graphic and geometric design, the triangle represents the eye, but may also symbolize the female sex if there are other triangles in each corner. The hand of Fatima is also embroidered for protection against evil eye.

Using natural dye, most commonly deep red, indigo blue, and black silk, is embroidered monochrome onto white cotton. Other colors such as purple, shades of brown, yellow, and green are also used. Beforehand Fez embroidery has no pattern whatsoever transferred or drawn onto the actual fabric, contrary to other embroideries. Its measured stitches are very small, only a few millimeters. The women simply count each thread; one stitch spans two to four threads of the fabric. The fabric usually 80cm wide and 2 meters long are stretched on a special loom, then rolled up so the women actually only see the part which she works on. Embroidering horizontally, vertically or diagonally, leaving blanks to combine the desired design. This is an extremely time-consuming technique, which requires mathematical precision and a lot of concentration and patience. There is no reverse side. Usually the women first see the outcome when they are finished all the intricate work, sometimes after several years. Family, friends, and neighbors, are then invited to a big tea party to admire the embroidered piece.

Small girls were taught the art of embroidery at special small school workshops. The teacher, the maalma, would keep all the work as her commission for free training. Clients would come to order new embroideries, or have their old ones restored. In the early 20th century, when the tradition was still strong, more than 2 thousand women were teaching or having workshops in Fez alone. The bourgeoisie families would buy cotton fabric; silk from the Orient, and special looms, so their daughters could practice the skills and art they learned from the maalma at home. The pieces they produced were usually squared and rectangular, consisting of one or several parts, such as pillowcases and bedspreads.

During the late 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, they began using chemical colors for the silk thread, with very few exceptions. Not one embroidered piece is the alike. They are all unique; a piece of art. Each individual would show her own creative skills, sense, and choice of color. In the harems, women from other countries would certainly influence the women with their style and technique. Unfortunately today, very few women are practicing the art of hand embroidery, and even if Gatsby has tried to found one, there are no Harem left in Fez... Many articles are now machine embroidered, so we must treasure what is left and what used to be a fabulous tradition.

New flights to Fez (4): London to Fez


Our prayers have been answered. After months and months without a direct connection between London and Fez, Ryanair is to start a new route from London Stanstead to Fez-Saiss. The flight is expected to bring hundreds of englishman hungry for sun and the exceptional value that the real state market still offers in comparison with other cities like Marrakech. The english have always been keen on orientalism, as can be seen in plenty of masterpieces hanging in the Tate British Museum, and were amongst the first in setting their eyes in the precious medina of Fez, contributing to make it a destination for the well educated crowds in search of purity, history, architectonical jewels and exquisite gastronomy. Later on they were put off the game with the sudden stop of direct flights, having to take alternative routes in journeys that Gatsby has listened too many times and sound rather like the Odyssey instead of a vacation.
The flight will start early on May and will operate three times a week: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, making it very easy to spend a long weekend.

New Flights to Fez (3): Pisa/Florence


The unstoppable promotion of our beloved city of Fez continues. After the successful campaign 'Smile you're in Fez' -that you can find all around the city- was translated into italian thanks to Alessandro from Fez Lounge, Ryanair, the company that you hate in public but you continue to check online in private, has announced a new direct flight Fez-Pisa starting as soon as April. The flight will operate twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday, and will actually be arriving to the Florence airport, which is much better.
So if you are italian and you have not been to Fez you have a golden opportunity to come and discover one of the oldest medinas in the world, and by far the most charming. In Fez they truly love italians and you can often hear some music hits from the 80's including the favourite 'Lasciatemi cantare'(l'Italiano) by Toto Cutugno.
And if you live in Fez and, like Gatsby, you enjoy the finer things of life, you should take a long weekend and go and pay your respects to the Renaissance artist Masaccio and his 'Holy Trinity' in Santa Maria Novella, Florence. And after, only after, enjoy a good fettuccine with funghi porcini and a classic prosciutto pizza.

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