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When you set out to explore the streets and souks of Marrakech for the first time, you are bound to be dazzled by the crowds of young boys swarming around you. They try to sell you Berber artefacts, taxi rides and even photos taken during your day of sightseeing.
You feel dazed, as you realise you are in a wholly different reality from the one you come from, yet it fascinates you to the point that all you need is half a day to come to terms with Marrakech and immediately appreciate its bustling life, contrasts, chaos and people.
The Moroccans are amiable, kind, hospitable and, as they say, have golden hands! They are renowned for their traditional craftsmanship and diving into the thousands of shops, big and small, famous or unknown in Marrakech will be a shopping experience not to be missed!
Here are some tips to enjoy shopping in Marrakech to the fullest without missing out on anything:
The Flea Market of Bab el Khemis
Off the beaten tourist tracks and far from the much more famous Medina, is the working class neighborhood of Bab el Khemis. Bab in Arabic means door and Bab el Khemis means "Thursday Door".
In fact, on Thursday from 8am to 12pm, the most charming and characteristic Flea Market of the city is held here: a unique mix of junk and actual treasures of antique Moroccan handicraft - such as the beautiful carved wooden doors typical of local houses or dating back to the French colonial period and, therefore, in Art Deco style.
The real highlight of the flea market of Bab el Khemis are the magnificent green vases of Tamegroute, a village in the Draa Valley, in southern Morocco: it should be noted that the vases found here are much more valuable than the polychrome ones that other souks are swamped with.
Fashion District, Mouassine
This is what is considered the fashion district of Marrakech, north of the Medina, just a few blocks from the Jamaâ el-Fna square.
Its 19th-century architecture, the monumental fountain and 16th-century Mosque are the setting for a maze of narrow alleys and small workshops that combine traditional craftsmanship with modernity.
Here you will find some of most prestigious shops in Marrakech: the very chic Khalid, an antique art gallery where you can look for antique jewellery, carpets, marble fountains, daggers and an excellent selection of Islamic art. What is the most sought after item by Khalid's glamorous customers? A camel's shinbone, hand-inlaid and turned into a polo boot horn.
Here, in the Mouassine district, is also Max&Jan, a fashion-forward clothing store that has become a landmark for new Moroccan ethical fashion. Created by two fashion designers, Maximilien Scharl, who is Swiss but Casablanca-born, and Jan Pauwels, from Belgium, the store is a heaven for true fashionistas!
Souk Cherifia, Medina
Known especially for being the Souk of Creative Types, Souk Cherifia is popular among young people who have chosen to innovate traditional craftsmanship, the roots of which are extremely ancient.
Here, you can find the shops of some of the most interesting artists/artisans in the city: Lalla, with its suede leather bags famous throughout Marrakech; Sissimorocco, the brand of the French designer Sylvie Pissard, which produces original cushions, robes, slippers and small accessories with really unique Art Deco details; Chabi Chic, with its tableware collectibles and Original Marrakech, a rather unusual shop that specialises in creating custom-made objects, ranging from hats to lamps. Indeed, the best place to find an original gift.
Marrakech is a special, multi-faceted city with many different souls: spending a holiday here means plunging into a whirlwind of new colours, flavours and scents, without passing up the chance of having a new and... unforgettable shopping experience! Come and find out for yourself!