Until recently Le Jardin Secret, one-time home to some of Morocco’s most prolific political figures, was off-limits to travelers. An exquisite example of Islamic architecture and art, this grand riad laid dormant for half a century, its former glory fading amongst the bustle of the medina. In 2016, after a lengthy restoration program, it finally opened its doors to the public.
After our introduction to Moroccan life at Le Jardin Secret, we will stop at the Al Nour Association to find out more about the inspirational project they run that provides local women, all of whom live with a disability, with the skills they need to take care of themselves and their families. We will join them in a hands-on embroidery session where you will see some of their intricate work up close.
Another architectural stunner awaits at the recently restored Douiria Museum in the Mouassine Quarter. A remarkable example of Saadian design from the late 16th to early 17th century, the building features a house and a douiria (reception area), making it more of a home than an actual museum.
When you think of Marrakech, you may conjure up visions in your mind of the bustling medina and its legendary spice market. Our next stop is close to this world-famous market of spices, known locally as Place des Épices, but the focus at Souk Chérifia is on modern motifs. Here you will find traditional pottery, baskets and souvenirs but you’ll also have the opportunity to visit small concept stores that proudly display current Moroccan designs too.
The Tiskiwin Museum, also known as Maison Tiskiwin and the Bert Flint Museum, is one of the finest museums in the country displaying artifacts from Morocco, the Sahara and other nearby areas of interest. Bert Flint is a Dutch anthropologist and collector of art who has become somewhat of a local hero after dedicating himself to the study of life in Northwestern Africa over the centuries.
Our next stop will be Riad Yima, an achingly hip cafe, boutique and gallery founded by the renowned photographer Hassan Hajjaj. Mint tea is practically compulsory for all Moroccan tour itineraries, so we will enjoy a refreshing glass in the cafe.
Feeling suitably refreshed, our shopping spree continues at Chabi Chic, where the pottery, jewelry and clothing all have a hippie vibe. The store opened several years ago with the creation of a line of dishes that featured long-established Moroccan patterns and stripes, handmade by Moroccan craftsmen.
We want you to experience true Moroccan hospitality and home cooking, so we will take you to a riad in the center of town to enjoy a freshly prepared feast with a local family. Aside from the main dish, which could be tagine, cous cous or lamb with prunes and almonds, most home cooking in Morocco includes a delightful abundance of interesting side dishes and, of course, the ubiquitous mint tea, prepared in an elaborate ceremony.