Salé holiday villa (5 airconditioned bedrooms,...

Salé and Rabat, the region

Rabat, a capital to experience
Gardens, promenades, great avenues and a broad array of festivals: take the time to live life to the full....
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Majestic monuments
Sober and graceful, Rabat stretches serenely along the ocean’s edge. Hassan Tower, in all its force, is outlined against the sky, dominating an esplanade of marble pillars, the remnants of a mosque conceived in the 12th century so that the entire army of the sovereign Yaqub Al-Mansour could pray there. On this very esplanade stands the Mohammed V mausoleum, a veritable little palace. Finely-crafted marble, bronze and painted woods under a mahogany dome perforated with stained glass form the case enclosing the royal tombs carved into a chiseled block of white onyx and resting on a slab of onyx and dark blue granite which shimmers like water.

A city of contrasts
In the south of the city, the gardens on Mechouar Square await you for a stroll by the royal palace. Go back toward the town centre and take the time to visit the archaeological museum: it presents the findings of excavations at several of the country’s archeological sites, notably Volubilis and Lixus. Also in the town centre, you will find Mohammed V Avenue, lined with art deco buildings. With its large agglomerations, wide avenues and parks, this area of the city harmoniously borders the old medina.

Festivals galore
In Rabat, the year is brimming with a wide variety of events and festivals, bearing witness to great cultural dynamism. In May, music holds the place of honor in the Mawazine world music festival. The International Alternative Film Festival takes place in June, and music returns to centre stage in November with the Plucked String Instrument Festival.

A timeless stroll
Beyond the city’s ramparts, other walls conceal an enchanting place: this small, fertile valley, with its prickly pear trees, palm trees and olive trees, was chosen by the Merinides dynasty in the 13th century to accommodate their final residency. Stroll through the sepulchers in the shade of the ruins of a sanctuary where the minaret acts as refuge to the storks. A little further along stand other ruins of a more distant past: those of Sala la Romaine.

Majestically beautiful and proud of its heritage

The soul of the medina
Protected by powerful ramparts, the medina reflects the soul of the old Almohad city. Souika street and its shops present magnificent rugs, the delicate work of copperware artisans, succulent pastries and appetizing brochettes. Rue des Consuls – which got its name because this is where representatives of foreign nations resided – is flanked by elegant residences where the craftmen practice their art under the watchful eyes of passersby. Tarik El Marsa street, which runs along the Andalusian wall, also boasts a full panorama of the crafts practiced here for centuries.

Salé, the rival sister
From the other side of the mouth of Bouregreg river , Salé, the old city of pirates, faces the capital. Founded before Rabat at the start of the 12th century, its medina, lined with fountains, magnificent riads, and mosques, buzzes with activity. Don’t forget the medersa, the Koranic school, a renowned chef d’oeuvre of Merinides art.

The historical heart
A fortress erected at the edge of the Rabat medina, the Oudayas Kasbah keeps watch over the city. The magnificent gate pierces the elaborate walls of the citadel and opens on Jamaâ street. On the left stands the city's oldest mosque, El Atiqa, which was built in 1150. Its white-washed houses give the city that Mediterranean character. Your walk could end at café Maure, where the view of the bay and Salé is breathtaking.

An art gallery in the wall
The magnificent Bab Rouah, the "Gate of the Winds", is monumental. It stands out for the richness of its adornments. It has become a gallery for exhibitions. Under the elaborate arches of the four square rooms, the works of famous Moroccan artists have found their venue.

The Chellah necropolis
Be sure to visit this peaceful place. The last residence of the Merinide sovereigns, it is protected by imposing walls, where storks like to build their nests. This is also where the old Roman city of Salé uses to be. You will admire the ruins of a triumphal arch, the forum, thermal bathes and several shops.

Discover the capital's ceremonies

The Candles Festival
Every year in the month of May, the city of Salé celebrates Sidi Abdallah Ben Hassoune, the city's saint, during the Candles Festival. Accompanied by musiciens and flag bearers, a long parade of men in colourful attire and carrying huge wax lamps comprised of thousands of sculpted and dyed pieces, moves through the city's main streets to arrive at the holy man marabout.

An ancestral tradition persists on rue des Consuls in the medina in the area covered by glass ceilings. Every Monday and Thursday morning, a rug auction takes place. A guaranteed spectacle.

Military ceremonies
Every day at exactly 10:45 AM, you can enter the court of the barracks of the royal guard to attend the ceremony of the hoisting of the colours- that is, the hoisting of the national flag. Also spectacular is the changing of the mounted guard, which takes place every day at 7:00 AM before Hassan Tower. From the esplanade of this tower, cannon shots are fired the evening before the main religious festivals.

Artgalleries, golf, beaches, walks along the coast

Dawdling through nature
Don't miss the gardens of Sidi Bouknadel 12km north of Rabat. Covering 4 hectares, exotic plants from around the world have been planted here. You will be able to continue this bucolic walk and picnic in Mamora forest among the eucalyptus trees, cork, and other Aleppo pines. Back in the city, enjoy the new coastal road which starts at Bab Al Bahr, near the Kasbah. The banks of the Bouregreg sometimes take on an air of a French Riviera, especially with the new marina and its 350 rings and rive droite on the Salé side. At sunset, Café Maure at the Ouyades kasbah offers the best view over the river and Salé.

Here, many art galleries are set up in the entry ways to monuments. Such is the case of the three galleries at the gates Bab Rouah kasbah and Bab Rouah, the "Gate of the Winds". Rabat is home to two remarkable museum: the archaeological museum and its impressive collection of ancient relics, and the Oudayas Museum, with its array of marvels of Moroccan crafts, of which the Andalusian gardens, a haven of peacefulness and freshness are a work of art in their own right. To ease your ears, be sure not to miss the Mawazine festival of world music.

In November, come experience the Hassan II Trophy on the Dar Es Salaam Royal Golf Course. A globally renowned event in a setting of beauty rarely seen on the greens. Long beaches await you, for a horseback ride or a dip in the Atlantic.

Rabat has exquisite and precious arts and crafts

Arts and crafts
Shopping starts on the Rue des Consuls in the medina. In addition to silver jewelry, the place is famous for its rugs. The traditional rug of Rabat is fine, with short, often red wool with a medallion in the shape of a diamond at its centre. These rugs are qualified as urban as opposed to the rural products from the Atlas. Their auction sale on Monday and Thursday mornings is an unforgettable moment. As you exit the Oudayas Kasbah, take the time to linger in all the Tarik El Marsa arts and crafts boutiques. Here, some of the most beautiful rbati arts and crafts are found in a single place. The same can be said for El Oulja, the potters village on the road to Meknes. The artisans use clay from the neighbouring quarries to shape the typical objects of daily life in addition to true works of art. Many items of basketwork are also produced here.

Modern boutiques
One of the remarkable things about Morocco is the harmonious blend of tradition and modernity. One of the largest shopping centres in Africa opened recently in Rabat. And this mall is not the city's only s shopping centre! Most of the local and international luxury boutiques are located along Mohammed V Avenue, the new city's true administrative and commercial nerve centre. You'll also find a number of stores in the upscale quarters like Agdal, which is particularly lively.

Efficiency and a wide range of choice

The Mohamed VI International Convention Centre in Skhirat allows you to host important conferences and events in a spacious, functional setting. It has a 1,350m2 reception-expo hall, a 528-seat auditorium, a 700m2 ball room and a modular room comprising three areas of 200 seats. Most of the capital's large hotels also have conference rooms. More original, over in the medina not far from El-Ghezel souk, forums and seminars are organised at Dar Lemrini, a restored riad. Similar services are offered at Dar Trachen, Dar Rbatia and Villa Mandarine, which is located in the residential neighbourhood of Souissi. Mohammed V Theatre, a musical shrine (800 seats), can also be reserved.

The array of perks in Rabat is broad. Golf tournaments can be organised on the sublime Dar Es Salam Royal Golf Course. On this site of exceptional beauty, you play in the shade of splendid Roman ruins... The new marina, built on the right bank, the Salé side, will soon be able to host the sailing boats of a regatta stopping over at Skhirat, for example. The Rabat Poney Club organised excursions on the beaches or hikes in the forest. To conclude, Rabat-Salé has all of the infrastructure needed to practice paragliding and parachuting.
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