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Just returned from 2 days in Casablanca and a long weekend in Marrakech

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Sep 2nd, 2004, 09:55 AM
  #1
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Just returned from 2 days in Casablanca and a long weekend in Marrakech

Just got back from a 5 day trip to Morocco - 2 days in Casablanca to attend a friend's wedding and then a 3 day weekend in Marrakech.

Stayed at a lovely riad in the Medina in Marrakech - Riad Clémentine (www.riad-clementine.com) - run by a friendly French family, beautifully decorated, air con, lovely pool, shady courtyard... perfect when the afternoon temperatures soared to 45 degrees C!

We ate out at two different restaurants, both of which I'd recommend:
Marrakchi, next door to the café de France on the place Jemaa el Fna, served lovely Morrocan cuisine in a beautiful candlelit dining room, with windows all the way round giving a first rate view of the activity on the Place below. I started with traditional Moroccan soup, Harira, followed by a very good chicken and preserved lemon tajine and BF had pigeon pastilla followed by egg, tomato and kefta (meatball) tajine. We shared a cream pastilla and cinammon oranges for desert, and drank a half bottle of Moroccan rosé wine. Total for two was about 600 dirhams (60 euros).

The second night we ate at the Comptoir Paris Marrakech, in the Hivernage quarter (outside the medina). This is a very trendy restaurant that seemed to be popular with well-heeled locals and tourists alike. The menu is a fusion of Morrocan and world cuisine. I had a goats cheese salad to start, BF had Harira soup, then I had another chicken tajine - more innovatively prepared than the previous evening. Can't remember what BF had. The restaurant also has a bar upstairs (rare in Marrakech, for obvious reasons), and there was also live entertainment from musicians and dancers. Total for 2, with 3 courses, apéritifs and wine, was about 750 dirhams.

We took the train from Casablanca to Marrakech, which was cheap and easy. The journey took 3 and a half hours, and cost 110 dirhams each way in first class. We were advised to book 1st class because 2Nd class isn't air conditioned and it can get stiflingly hot.

We took petits taxis to get around Marrakech. My BF was firm about negotiating the price before getting in each time: no more than 10 dirhams during the day, 20 at night. If one driver didn't accept the price there was always another hovering behind that would.

We communicated in French most of the time. A few key phrases in Arabic would have been a help (such as hello, goodbye, thankyou) and I wish I'd learned these before I arrived. If we hadn't been able to speak French I think we'd have found the city much harder to negotiate.

We found everyone to be very friendly and helpful. Apart from the odd taxi driver, we didn't feel that people were trying to rip us off, and as a woman I felt safe and unthreatened. Nobody really seemed to pay any attention to us whatsoever. We noticed very few beggars, and, except for the place Jemaa el Fna (where such things are to be expected), were never harrassed or hassled by touts or vendors.
hanl is offline  
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Sep 3rd, 2004, 11:08 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Thanks for your trip report there's not a lot of talk about Morocco on the board. I'm going for almost three weeks in October and will make note of Riad Clementine it looks lovely and we would like to stay some place with a pool when we are in Marrakech.
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