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Fezzes are Cool – As Time Goes By in Casablanca

Morocco has something for everyone, from conservative golfers to aging hippies, serious food lovers to millennial surfers.  Journeys to Marrakech, Fes, the Atlas Mountains and Ourika Valley all begin in Casablanca — Morocco’s largest city and its transport hub.

Casablanca is best known for the eponymous 1942 Hollywood classic film, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains (who has all the best lines).  Hardcore Casablanca fans may feel it is enough just to be in the city where the iconic film is set, while other travelers find much to see and enjoy although Casablanca makes them work a little harder to find it.

Casablanca has been a bustling port on the rim of Africa since the seventh century B.C., and colonized in the 18th and 19th century first by the Portuguese, who gave it its current name, and later by the French, who put their own veneer of European sophistication on the place, as well as leaving Casablanca the legacy of exquisite Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Neo-Moorish architecture, still visible today.

The historical center of Casablanca is the Old Medina, located adjacent to the seafront Corniche and famous Hassan II mosque. This warren of narrow streets and alleyways is the primary market of “Casa” as the locals refer to their city.  The Old Medina is a must for photographers: saturated in every imaginable color and texture, from the spices to the colorful djellaba robes.  Here you can rub shoulders with the Moroccans as they buy fresh fish just off the trawlers and freshly-squeezed orange juice from the vibrant citrus fruit that represents one of the country’s primary exports.  The Old Medina street food is legendary:  just follow your nose to find roasted chicken and beef kabobs, fragrant fresh baked goods and refreshing juices and sherbets.  

For more formal dining, try the Taverne du Dauphin, known for its delicious fresh seafood dishes made from fish caught that morning.  Fans of the film head to a very credible recreation of the fictional Rick’s Cafe where waiters wear fezzes and they play “As Time Goes By” in an almost continuous loop.  And yes, sometimes, they even play the “Marseilles.”

Alexander+Roberts pioneered American travel to Morocco and offers numerous escorted or individual options to discover the sights, smells, and Magic of Morocco.

Posted: 6/15/2015 3:48:58 PM by Alexander + Roberts