Marrakech

Travel guide - Marrakech

Nicknamed “the pearl of the South”, Marrakech is the former capital of the kingdom of Morocco. It is an ideal destination for discovering the desert, the High Atlas mountain range and Morocco’s Atlantic coast. But a stay in Marrakech is, more than anything else, a chance to immerse yourself in the Arabo-Andalusian and Berber culture of the country.

Marrakech reveals itself through its old town

The narrow streets of the medina (old town) form a 600-hectare labyrinth where you might find yourself needing to ask a local for directions! During your weekend in Marrakech, make your way to Jemaa el-Fnaa Square. This immense square is filled with street vendors, monkey trainers and snake charmers! Take a moment to enjoy a delicious fresh-squeezed orange juice before doing your shopping in the souks.
Admire the Koutoubia Mosque and its 12th-century minaret, which inspired that of the Giralda in Seville. Next, head to the Ben Youssef Madrasa, which was built in 1570 and is the largest Koranic school in the Maghreb. Stroll through the Saadian Tombs, which reflect the wealth of the sultan.

In the footsteps of Yves Saint Laurent

The history of Yves Saint Laurent and his companion Pierre Bergé is linked with that of Marrakech. When the French designer first discovered the Majorelle Garden in the 1960s, he fell in love with the emblematic blue of the villa’s walls. This nod to Matisse’s works incited the couple to buy the Art Deco villa and its garden in 1980. Designed by French painter Jacques Majorelle in the 1930s, the Majorelle Garden, with its 300 botanical species, is also a pilgrimage site for those following in the footsteps of the famous designer, as his ashes were scattered here in 2008.
You can also visit the Yves Saint Laurent museum in Marrakech, found on Rue Yves Saint Laurent. Inaugurated at the end of 2017, this ultra-modern, 4,000 square metre museum is dedicated to the history of the designer and his particular love of Morocco and Moroccan art.

Arabo-Andalusian and Berber culture in Marrakech

Marrakech is divided between the Kasbah, found inside the 19 kilometres of ramparts, the new city built under the French protectorate (Guéliz), the Jewish quarter (Mellah) and the old city (medina). Moorish architecture consisting of ponds, mosaics, stucco, moucharabiehs and tadelakt is splendid to look upon. The Bahia Palace, the El Badi Palace and the Dar Mnebhi Palace are perfect examples of this style. These palaces straight out of Arabian Nights will transport you back to the era of wealthy sultans and their harems!
You can learn more about Berber culture at the Marrakech Berber Museum. While you are visiting Marrakech, take the time to discover a traditional Moroccan home. The city has more than 700 riads, traditional houses with tall facades, patios and rooftop terraces.

Marrakech’s natural side

Get out of the city to enjoy a breath of fresh air and some greenery. What could be better than a horse-drawn carriage ride through the olive grove of the Menara gardens, with its immense artificial lake. You can also enjoy a camel or quad bike ride in the Marrakech palm grove for a unique experience. Walk through the Agdal Gardens, the oldest gardens in Marrakech, or play a round of golf.
To go even further, we suggest you rent an ATV to discover Ourika Valley, inhabited by shepherds and filled with oleander plants. Marrakech is also the gateway to the Moroccan Desert with its magnificent sand dunes punctuated by refreshing oases, and the city is only 30 kilometres from the famous Atlas Mountains.

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