Fes or Fez (you will see it written both ways depending on where you look) is the second largest city in Morocco, and was our second stop in our 10 day trip in Morocco. It was once the capital of Morocco and the Medina, Fes el Bali, is a World Heritage Site and is considered one of the world's largest car free zones.
There is much to see in Fes, so I would recommend staying no less than 3 nights, so you'll have at least 2 full days to explore. It is easy to get lost in all the souks and many maps, especially offline map apps will not have all the streets, and not all the streets will be properly marked, so choose to stay at a hotel that is close to all the sites you want to visit. This will save you time and allow you to see more sites.
We stayed at Palais Amani and had a great time. The hotel has a great restaurant Eden at Palais Amani, as well as a Hammam, and a Cooking Workshop. We were lucky enough to get to experience all three and I highly recommend that you do as well, if you are ever in Fes.
Eden at Palais Amani
Eden at Palais Amani, was our first meal in Fes. After arriving from an 8 hour train ride from Marrakech in the evening, it was perfect to simply walk out of our room and not have to spend time searching for somewhere decent to eat. We sat in the beautiful courtyard next to a lovely fountain. We had the Market Moroccan Menu, which has a set price for an appetizer and main course, or an appetizer, main course and desert. I ate the Fig and Goat Cheese Salad, Beef Tagine and Orange Blossom Peaches. All of them were delicious and the presentation was topnotch. Definitely a must eat!
There's a first time for everything and this was my first time having a Hammam treatment. The Hammam at Palais Amani was better than I could have imagined. It was more relaxing than I had anticipated. I had the Traditional treatment where I had a clay hair treatment and was exfoliated through a multi-step process. There was the sound of running water throughout the treatment that almost lulled me to sleep several times. The setting is nice and the only lighting in the Hammam is candlelight. The best part is how soft my skin and hair feel, which is great since the low humidity here was really making my skin dry. It's a great way to treat yourself after walking around sightseeing all day.
Amani Cookery Workshop
I have never had a cooking workshop before but I couldn't have chosen a better one to have. Our Cooking Workshop with Palais Amani took us first through the souks of the Medina, to buy each ingredient fresh, and when I say each ingredient, I don't just mean the vegetables and meat, I mean down to each of the spices used in the dishes. Every, single, ingredient was purchased while we travelled through the maze of the souks. It was a wonderful way to spend an hour seeing the souks, and get an authentic experience of how locals shop for their food. We were with our lovely chef and guide/translator who gave us information and even took pictures of us along the way. It was also great to not have to worry about getting lost.
After purchasing all the ingredients we got to prepare the dish along with our chef. We had an eggplant and tomato salad that might have been the best thing I've eaten in Morocco, along with a Chicken Tagine and an orange dessert. We even got a lovely gift basket at the end of our workshop with the recipes for all the dishes we made, as well as the spices needed to make them.
The Tanneries were around the corner from our hotel and took only a few minutes to get to. It was amazing to see this traditional form of dying leather up close. The smell is very pungent and you will be given a sprig of mint (thank god for that) to mask the stench. You can take in the view from a balcony above and it's incredible how big each vat of colour is. You will also have a great view of the city from there. If you've seen any pictures of Fes, you have no doubt seen the tanneries as it is the most famous Fes view.
Fes is a wonderful city with lots to offer. If you are planning a visit to Morocco be sure to work it in to your itinerary. You will not be disappointed.
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