Most visitors to Marrakesh head straight to the medina and its old-world souks for excitement. Those who are in the know make a b-line for the French “new town”, known to locals as Guéliz. Guéliz is home to the Yves Saint Laurent Majorlle Gardens, La Mamounia Hotel, where Alfred Hitchcock wrote: “The Birds” along with some of Marrakech’s chic addresses for eating out, shopping and gallery hopping. Named as the leading travel destination in North Africa by Trip Advisor and now on many travelers bucket list, Marrakesh lives up to its name with street lined cafes on glorious boulevards dotted with palm trees, an outdoor flower market, beautiful parks with dry tolerant plants and some of the world’s most delicious street food. Marrakech also boasts annual cultural events such as the Art Biennalle, the Marrakesh Film Festival and has a host of action-packed nightclubs, restaurants, and hotels with an appeal to both young and older travelers.
WHERE TO SHOP IN GUELIZ, MARRAKESH
SCENES DES LIN
This is the place to go for both luxurious textiles: table linens, curtains, bathrobes and towels and even a line of clothing. Richly colored cotton, brightly colored summer linens, and plush towels make the selection here is second to none. We love the table linens in a variety of colors and the finest woven linens for both indoor and outdoor dining tables. The sales rack downstairs is a must-visit.
Address:70 rue de la Liberté, Guéliz Phone: 212-524-43-61-08
Owned by fashion designer Yann Dobry of Akbar Delights in the medina, Moor features a selection of upscale Moroccan couture. Using the finest artisans and materials, Moor is known for its embroidered silk, cotton and linen tunics. The cool and calm colors throughout the shop create a relaxed shopping experience. Look up or even just on the walls – the décor, a selection of Moroccan homewares sourced from around the Kingdom, is also available! Address: 7 Rue des Vieux Marrakchis, Guéliz Phone: +212-0524-45-82-74
The boutique and workshop of French designer, Lalla is one of our favorite stops along Rue de la Liberte. Colorful leathers and funky accents are used to create one of a kind functional women’s handbags in a variety of sizes and shapes. Fringed handbags for a day outline the selves alongside a carryall big enough to take to work and even for the weekend. The accessories here are also fabulous with our favorites being the colorful and textured necklaces, the perfect addition to any outfit. Address: 5 Rue de la Liberte, Gueliz Phone: +212-661-47-72-28
With two levels of design, fashion and accessories created by Moroccan and international designers, as well as the traditional Moroccan goodies like the green pottery from southern Morocco and a selection of funky babouche, this is the shop for trendy souvenirs and gifts. Like a high-end department store, new designers are exposed with the collection hanging regularly, giving this concept store the leading edge on the latest trends. A small gallery is attached and features a changing art exhibit. The location is perfect – across from Majorelle Gardens. Address: 33 Rue Yves Saint Laurent, Gueliz Phone: 212-524-31-41-95
WHERE TO EAT IN GUELIZ, MARRAKESH
For restaurants with dishes diverging from traditional Moroccan cuisine, head to the Ville Nouvelle, where many establishments serve lighter fare. Kechmara offers tasty sandwiches and salads in a sleek white-and-chrome dining room with a rooftop terrace. Live music plays every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, and the restaurant often hosts exhibits of art and photography.
Address: 3 De Rue La Libertie
Once you pass the traditionally dressed doormen, this place is all-female and is run like a family kitchen. Set up by the well-known Chab family 20 years ago, this popular restaurant is now successfully managed by Myra Chab as a cooperative. A variety of Moroccan dishes are available, including specialties that require a day’s notice such as the dalaa mbakhra (steamed lamb shoulder) and chaâra medfouna (steamed vermicelli garnished with pigeon). The tagines and couscous here go against the grain in both ingredients and size. Chicken with caramelized pumpkin and lamb with eggplant are just two of the 13 tagine choices, and you’re served a portion that you might actually be able to finish. The desserts are delicious, so leave space for some seffa couscous in butter, sugar, milk, and cinnamon.
Address: Aguedal & Gueliz
Phone Gueliz: + 212-524-434-060
WHERE TO GALLERY HOP IN GUELIZ MARRAKESH
DAVID BLOCH GALLERY
A leading gallery in Marrakech’s new town, Gueliz that features a wide range of contemporary art. This loft-style gallery showcases sculpture, paintings, and photography. Some well-known artists that have been featured at David Bloch Gallery are world renown photographer, Steven McCurry, Graffiti artist Vincent Abadie Hafez, and Mohamed Boustane, painter of the technique of Arabic lettering.
Address: Rue des Vieux Marrakechis Phone: +212-524457595
Located in the charming Passage Ghandouri, this Marrakech well known and trendy gallery is named after Henry Matisse. The gallery features works by Mahi Binebine, and henna paintings evoking Berber Baraka (blessings) by Farid Belkahia along with the Moroccan artists Nourredine Chater, Mohamed Melehi, Hassan Hajjaj, and Hassan El Glaoui. The artists showcased at Matisse Gallery are a combination of young, old and new on the Moroccan art scene.
Address: 61 Rue de Yougoslavie, N° 43 Passage Ghandouri Phone: +212-524448326
This gallery is for photographer lovers and a must visit. Gallerie 127 features the world of up-and-coming photographers from Morocco and abroad. Owned and curated by Nathalie Locatelli, the gallery is wonderfully positioned on Mohammed V in central Gueliz. The loft-like space features wonderful architectural details and is located in an Art Deco building.
Address: 127, Avenue Mohammed V, 2ème étage Phone: +212-524432667