Landing at sunset, we entered the heart of Marrakesh, dodging car, cart and donkey in order to find our way to the luxurious Riad Farnatchi (for more information on this Riad, please click here). Staying true to traditional Islamic architecture, the Riad sports a modest exterior. Had not a helpful local pointed us in the right direction, we’d probably have missed the unassuming doorway that leads through to the stunning courtyard of this luxury hideaway. Providing a quiet sanctuary for its enamoured guests (as soon as the front door shuts, the only sound that can be heard is the trickling of the water feature), the Riad Farnatchi feels worlds away from the movements of the city outside; a welcome treat after our hectic days filming in the Medina.
Merely wandering the labyrinthine alleyways of this mythical city proved to be an exciting experience in itself. Walk in one direction and you could find yourself invited in to a hidden enclave to watch fabric dyers, another and you’ve entered the noisy district of the metal workers. The locals were warm and friendly, (they had no qualms about inviting us to film them working) plying us with sweet mint teas and rolling out magnificent carpets at our feet, eager to begin the bartering process. If you’re into your storeping, then Marrakesh is your dream destination. Strewn throughout the Medina are lanes brimming with craftsmen selling their wares, be it hand sculpted lantern, leather bound notebook or the intricate woven carpets you’ll see hanging from the walls throughout the city.Read more
We spent hours moving from market stall to workstore, filming and admiring the skills of the locals. After a quick lunch at Café Clock, a great little space that combines the traditional with the modern and serves incredible food (so good in fact that we went on the hunt for Café Clock Fez a week later), we continued our foray into the city’s alleyways and it wasn’t until dusk that we managed to get to the central square of Jemaa el Fna.
Now, Jemaa el Fna is without a doubt one of the most famous landmarks in Marrakesh. We’d all seen the pictures and heard the stories of snake charmers and delicious food stalls, yet nothing could prepare us for the overwhelming atmosphere of the place. You can hear it, feel it even before you see it. On approach the distant sound of drums becomes louder and soon you’ll see the performers, snakes, monkeys and crowds appear like a mirage before you. You may get a snake draped round your neck or a monkey climb up your leg, but this is a small price to pay for the excitement of the square at night time. We positioned ourselves in one of the bars overlooking the Medina so we could film uninterrupted and watched as the square filled with tourists and locals.
Back at the Riad, we were lucky enough to experience one of Marrakesh’s spectacular blood red sunsets from the rooftop. Each night flocks of birds fill the sky as the sun descends and the call to prayer echoes across the city. It was a perfect and atmospheric end to our time in Marrakech and each of us left for the Atlas Mountains vowing to return.