Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

JUL-AUG 2012

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Majorelle Gardens, Marrakech Ben Youssef Medersa in Marrakech Riad Kaiss, Marrakech. Photo by Elan Fleisher. century. Te 12-acre Majorelle Gardens, designed by French painter Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 30s and purchased in 1980 by Laurent and Pierre Bergé, are a popular tourist destination (plan to visit early or late in the day for the smallest crowds). Laurent's ashes were scattered there following his death in 2008. Te painter's studio is now a museum displaying the personal collections of Laurent and Bergé. Also worth a visit are the lavishly decorated Saadian Tombs and the Ben Youssef Medersa, an Islamic school attached to the Ben Youssef Mosque that was founded in the 14th century and completely rebuilt in the 1560s. It is home to some of the most beautiful art and architecture in Marrakesh. Even in a state of partial ruin, it is not too much a stretch of the imagination to envision the former grandeur of the 360-room El Badi Palace, built by Ahmed Al Mansour between 1578 and 1602. Like the finale in a fireworks show, a day at Djemaa el Fna was our final adventure. After shopping in the souks, where I picked up some gorgeous high-quality caftans from Bouriad Karim, and my travelmates drove a hard bargain to acquire several fine carpets, we arrived at the square by early afternoon. At that time of day, the scene was sedate enough, with a handful of snake charmers, henna artists and various peddlers milling about the square, but as day turned to dusk, scores of food vendors wheeled in carts offering all manner of epicurean delights, turning the square into a carnival-like scene. Again, our guide was invaluable in offering tips for handling the pushy street performers as well as advising which food carts to savor and, more important, to steer clear of. Returning to the serene confines of the Four Seasons, I slipped into the heated pool to unwind before heading to the spa to experience a traditional hammam bath and facial with oils of rose, jasmine and orange flower. Te indulgent escape provided an ideal opportunity to reflect on my extraordinary Moroccan adventure. sl SOURCES Moroccan National Tourist Office - Guide services: Saida Ezzahoui – Chefchaouen: Cassa Hassan - Fes: Sofitel Fès Palais Jamaï - palais-jamai/index.shtml. Marrakech: Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech - fourseasons. com/Marrakech; The Sanssouci Collection -; Majorelle Gardens – Meknes: Riad didi Meknes - Rabat: Sofitel Rabat Jardin des Roses - des-roses/index.shtml; Restaurant Le Ziryab - 45

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