Hello hello! I’m Chloé, and I’m here to tell you about my experience in Morocco, and more specifically in Marrakech! It’s a destination that’s becoming increasingly popular, but in my opinion is still too little known. In any case, it’s become a real “coup de coeur” for me, and I’m looking forward to going back to discover even more!

What’s there to do? Are there places to visit?

I went to Marrakech over two different periods. The first time in November for a three-day weekend and the second time at the end of June/beginning of July. If you don’t like the heat too much, I’d advise you to go at the end of the year, when it’s still around 30 degrees, but the heat is largely bearable. In June/July, temperatures rise, and we averaged 45 degrees. From talking to the locals, this was exceptional, as it’s normally much cooler at this time of year, and we’re talking about 30/35 degrees.

Marrakech is a very dynamic city. The streets are crowded day and night. In all the bars and restaurants, the atmosphere is festive, there’s always loud music, and it’s not uncommon to see people dancing in the middle of the restaurant during their meal. Most shops are also open at night.

As far as life is concerned, it’s less expensive than in France, and you can find some very nice restaurants and bars for less. Of course, there are also some very popular places where prices are similar to France. In Marrakech, it’s best to get around by cab. There is very little public transport. The best way to get around is to take a yellow cab, which is the legal cab in Marrakech. There are taxis on every street corner, so it’s very easy to find one and get around.

Without knowing it, I went to Marrakech during the Eid period, the atmosphere is very festive and I think it’s something you have to do at least once in your life to soak up the culture. On the eve and the day before, the locals would collect sheep from nearby farms to keep them at home until the festival. It’s not uncommon to see cars with their trunks ajar with the sheep inside. I was really surprised when the sheep’s throats were cut, because it was something I’d never seen before, but I was really happy to have seen it and to have experienced the moment.

One of my favorite places to visit in Marrakech was the unmissable Place Jemaa el-Fna, the center of the Medina. This square clearly represents the identity of Marrakech, where the world comes together and cultures mix. On the square, you’ll find fruit juice vendors, snake charmers, henna artists etc… As a little anecdote, as I have tattoos on my arms, a lady who did henna approached me to look at my tattoos. I let her and suddenly she started doing henna on my arm. Of course, it wasn’t free and the idea is to give a little of what you want. So I ended up paying €40 for henna that I absolutely didn’t want in the first place. It’s important to remain vigilant, as the products used to make the henna are not necessarily of good quality on the square, and it can happen that some people have allergic reactions. On the outskirts of the square are the souks. The atmosphere in the souks is just incredible, although the crowds can be quite overwhelming. What I found nice to do too, was to sit in the bars around the square or in the souks to enjoy the surrounding life. I’d also recommend discovering the more European side of town, in stark contrast to the Medina. It’s clearly not my favorite place, but the contrast is so impressive that I think it’s a must-see.

Another must-see in Marrakech is the Majorelle garden, which is just sublime with its blue colors. I was a little disappointed with the garden, as I thought it would be much bigger, but I still think it’s a must-see. It’s a very calm and soothing place where you can find a lot of flora.

I was also able to go quad biking in the desert and end the day with a meal and show, where the atmosphere was just wonderful. The places are incredible and you really get the Moroccan atmosphere with the typical Moroccan decoration.

What about cultural differences?

There are a few cultural differences between France and Morocco. What struck me most when I arrived in Morocco was the driving. There can be roads with many lanes, and the lanes aren’t always respected. It’s not uncommon to see three cars side by side when there are only two lanes on the road. Marrakchis also drive very fast. You’ll see very few accidents, though, as their driving is quite sporty, so they’re very alert and responsive behind the wheel. If you take a cab, ask for the fare before you get in and negotiate if necessary, as some cabs are much more expensive than others. It can also happen that some cab drivers accept to take four people when they only have a car that can accommodate three. You’ll also soon realize that, unlike in France, very few people wear seatbelts when driving.

In Marrakech, there are lots of scooters and motorcycles. Don’t be surprised if you come across entire families (3/4 people) on the same scooter. It’s also not uncommon to see babies in their parents’ arms on a scooter.

Marrakech is a very safe city, not once did I feel unsafe there, something that can happen in big cities in France, and I must admit that this is a very pleasant aspect of Marrakech.

How’s the food?

As far as savory dishes are concerned, there are many typical Moroccan dishes. If you like mutton, you’ll be well served there, as many dishes are cooked with mutton. Of course, the two main dishes I recommend you try if you go to Morocco are couscous and tajine. They’re excellent!

Couscous consists of meat or fish and is served with a variety of vegetables. It should be noted that the French version of couscous is purely an invention, as meat was never originally intended to be mixed in couscous. There are 7 different types of couscous in Morocco, depending on the meat used, and usually 7 vegetables. The vegetables used to prepare couscous may differ according to the season.

Tagine refers to the earthenware dish in which food is cooked, and is originally a Berber dish in which vegetables and meat are stewed. I’d never eaten one before arriving in Morocco for the first time, and I have to tell you, it’s a real nugget!

As for sweetness, there are also a few specialities.

Harcha, or semolina cake, is a Moroccan and Algerian specialty. There are many different versions of this specialty. The Moroccan version is made with fine semolina and milk. They are eaten hot with honey or butter, or can be eaten plain.

Baghrir is a sweet North African specialty. As its French name suggests, it is characterized by its many holes and is served hot. They are made from semolina or flour and soaked in honey or butter, depending on how they are prepared and what you like.

Sweet couscous is also available. Steffa is prepared with milk, honey, rose or orange water. If you like it sweet and sour, you can also try couscous with tfaya, which is made with caramelized onions.

You can enjoy these sweet specialties with a cup of tea. It’s really excellent there! If you want to know more about what to eat: click here

In short, Marrakech is for me a place to visit at least once in your life, where cultures mix and activities abound. You clearly won’t get bored there!

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In the meantime, if you have any questions, we’ll be sure to answer them here.