Fez, Morocco

WHAT TO DO

  • Again, wander around the medina!! It is filled with gorgeous rugs, pillows, and pottery, just like in Marrakech, but bonus: it is also jam-packed with stunningly detailed fountains! They all look like works of art, it is kind of funny to see people watering their plants and filling up their cups with them. A tip: if you walk through Bab Boujloud (the famous blue gate), you can go left or right. If you go left, you walk through a food market, and then come upon the best part of the medina, where the most beautiful and authentic Moroccan goods are sold. The right turn takes you down a road full of cell phone cases, clothes you don't want, and postcards.
  • While all of the madrasas look very similar, I will still pop into all of them. Bou Inania Madrasa is the largest (and most popular, in my experience) one in Fez.
  • Al-Attarine Madrasa was easily my favorite. It was tiny and we had it all to ourselves!
  • University of Al Quaraouiyine is the oldest university in the world, AND founded by a woman! Non-muslims can't enter, but it is worth walking by to gaze up at THAT CEILING!
  • Fontaine Nejjarine made it onto the map while my very favorite fountain of the trip didn't even appear to have a name (which was actually after the right turn at the Bab Boujloud). Go see both (and all of the rest of them in between).
  • Another place worth walking by (and not entering if you aren't Muslim) is Zaouia de Moulay Idriss, a tomb to put all other tombs to shame. 
  • Glaoui Palace was easily the weirdest place we visited. When we entered, it felt like we were walking in on people napping in their home, and we soon learned that lots of people still actually live here. The woman who crawled out of her bed to greet us (and take our money) took us on a tour, showing us lodgings of different religious styles, a bunch of artwork, and finally, the "most beautiful" fountain in Fez (her words, not mine, but she had a point). I thought it was super cool--it was filled with beautiful engravings, tiles, doors, windows, and (of course) floors, but it was so run down. I thought this gave it character, Chad thought it could use some more upkeep. Julian was indifferent.
  • Yet another place you can't go into is Dar el-Makhzen, one of four royal palaces in Fez. But it is worth the trip just to lay your eyes on those seven gilded doors.
  • And lastly, please don't hate me for skipping the tanneries. Eeeeek! We were super turned off by everyone trying to trick us into going to theirs, and any time we got close to one, the smell made me nauseous (I can't even imagine how much worse it must get). We used the stroller as an excuse and never went inside.

WHERE TO EAT

  • Le Jardins de Biehn is a beautiful hotel, has a wonderful little shop, and serves a delicious lunch. As usual, I got the pastilla, and Chad randomly got a steak that I liked even more than my pick.
  • Another great lunch spot that doubled as a botanical garden was The Ruined Garden, where we enjoyed a vegetable tagine, a pile of couscous, and a bunch of fresh juice. Moroccan food is seriously my jam (is that still a thing people say?).

WHERE TO STAY

  • Riad Anata is going to get its very own post...coming up next!!