Maryam Montague invites us into the souks, cafés and alleyways of the city she adores
Maryam’s private tour of Marrakech.
1. Favourite restaurant
9 bis route de l’Ourika
This is my favourite restaurant for authentic Moroccan home-style cooking. Delicious! It’s also a woman’s cooperative, so you can feel especially good about going there. Make sure you make a reservation, though, because others are onto this secret too!
2. Favourite shop
33 Rue Majorelle
33 Rue Yves Saint Laurent
A concept store that carries wares from over 200 designers – from homewares to jewellery to clothes. This is fresh contemporary Moroccan design at its best and a great one-stop shop. You can also pick up a signed copy of my book, Marrakesh by Design, if you’re so inclined.
3. Favourite Gallery
127 Avenue Mohammed V, Guéliz
Marrakech’s gallery devoted to contemporary photography. There’s always something interesting to see. I saved up to buy my own birthday present here – there are so many images on my covet list!
4. Favourite café
34 Rue Yves Saint Laurent (opposite Majorelle Gardens entrance)
If you’re tired of heavy food and want a quick, healthy bite, this is the place to come. A great spot for vegetarians and vegans with salad and juice bars, as well as an outdoor terrace.
5. Place to see by night
Jemma el-Fnaa (just at dusk)
This might just be one of the planet’s best places for people watching – host to a variety of characters, from snake charmers to henna painters to fortune tellers to musicians. And the visitors are almost as intriguing.
6. Place for souvenirs
Ask for the “Souk des epices” once you’re in the old city, known as the medina – most people will be happy to direct you. Stall after fragrant stall awaits you. Pick up some ras-el-hanout – a blend of 12 or more spices that’s a mainstay in the Moroccan kitchen. Mix it into rice or meat dishes, or into a stew for a taste of North Africa.