Seven secret things to do in Fez
Time seems to have stood still in this beguiling imperial city, with its atmospheric, walled Medina, medieval architecture and vibrant souks. Although it is the spiritual heart of Morocco, Fez is often forgotten in favour of the more popular Marrakech. However, it has so much to offer the discerning traveller, and we, at cazenove+loyd, can help you make the most of your time there. Here are seven incredible experiences we can arrange for you in Fez:
1. Learn about the architecture:
The city’s elaborate buildings are magnificent and we can set up a fascinating morning with famous local architect Aziza Chaouni from the University of Al Qarawiyyin. The expedition will give you an informative overview of the intriguing and diverse world of Moroccan architecture, which showcases many ornamentation and decorative techniques, ranging from floral motifs and geometric patterns to ceramics and calligraphy.
2. Explore the food souks:
We can design a guided foodie trail, on which you explore the Medina’s winding alleyways, stopping by stalls that sell everything from dried meats to meloui (Moroccan pancakes) and spicy sardines to olives. The outing usually includes a visit to a honey souk, where you will taste an array of delectable wild honeys, discuss their flavours and health-giving properties, and learn about the importance of this sweet, sticky substance in Moroccan cuisine and Islamic culture. We can easily add a cooking element, so you can learn how to bake local bread and feast on a delicious, home-cooked lunch in your guide’s house.
3. Try a traditional hammam:
We have sourced the best places to go in the historic Medina, so you can rest assured you will have an authentic experience but still be well looked after. Our local escort will explain the history, traditions and products to you, and guide you through the steps of this ancient practice.
4. Cook with Tara Stevens:
For food fanatics, we suggest spending some time with this well-known food writer. Tara has written about many of the world’s top chefs, including Ferran Adrià, René Redzepi, David Thompson, Ángel León and Rick Stein, in prestigious publications and books. She has also consulted for several television shows, such as Annie Sibboney's From Spain with Love and Shane Delia's Spice Journey. She is passionate about ingredients and her enthusiasm is infectious. We can organise for you to spend a day or two at her cookery school, Dar Namir, where you can enjoy private, tailor-made classes.
5. Go shopping with a designer:
If you are interested in fashion or keen to do some tourist-free shopping, Brahim Mouhib, a young, Fez-based designer of handbags, homeware and accessories, can take you on an under-the-skin tour of the city, introducing you to some of the top designers and giving you exclusive access to some amazing hidden gems.
6. Discover our favourite foodie spots:
As with Marrakech, Fez has some fabulous restaurants. We have tested most of them first-hand and can recommend the crème de la crème, such as Dar Roumana, situated within an exquisite riad, where chef Vincent Bonnin serves scrumptious Mediterranean dishes with Moroccan influences. Another fun experience is to stop by one of the Medina’s hole-in-the-wall stalls for some b’ssara – a fava bean-and-garlic soup that is ladled into bowls and served with bread, olive oil and a sprinkling of chilli.
7. Photograph the Medina:
We can construct a wonderful day learning how to capture the Fez Medina on camera. The outing teaches some of the basic principles of photography, such as exposure, ISOs and improving your overall technique, as well as focusing on photographing Moroccan culture, giving you direct contact with local people. The day is project driven, so you should end up with a stunning portfolio to show for your efforts.
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