My 5: Cool Spots Around Casablanca.

City views from Casablanca Cathedral Morocco

1. City Panoramic, October 2008. My one and only trip to Morocco was a speedy affair by my standards. I had just over two weeks to work my way around some of the country’s key locations. The first port of call was the city of Casablanca and its stunning Hassan II mosque. This city panoramic was taken on the viewing balcony of Casablanca Cathedral (Eglise Sacré-Cœur). Built in the 1930s, the structure is a beguiling mix of European and Moroccan design, while gaining access to the private roof was as simple as tipping the guy at the door. 

2. Place Mohammed V, October 2008. This pretty square is a great place for a breather, not to mention the chance to chat with locals. There are some grand buildings to admire around the square, such as The Post Office, The Police Headquarters and The Bank Of Morocco. The main fountain meanwhile has regular water shows set to Arabic music and there’s a statue of Marshal Lyautey, Morocco’s first French resident general from 1912 and 1925.

3. The Old Medina, October 2008. Moroccan markets are always lively, colorful affairs punctuated by the smells of sizzling meat, sharp spices and piping hot fresh mint tea. In this respect Casablanca’s labyrinthine market quarter holds its own. In stark contrast to the frenzy of Marrakech, here you won’t be hassled into buying anything and indeed it’s entirely plausible that you won’t even see another tourist. I particularly loved the fruit and vegetable stalls, where the goods in question were presented like carefully constructed works of art. Indifferent to my presence, I received little more than the odd curious glance and friendly smile from local vendors.

4. Quartier Habous, October 2008. This pretty French style district, located one kilometer southeast of town, was built in the 1930s and is home to a number of cosy streets, with cutesy cafes, restaurants and bakeries galore. Noticeably clean and shiny in parts with souvenir shops aimed at tourists, Habous might come across as a bit disingenuous to the hardened traveler. But dig around and there are plenty of delights to unearth, such as hole-in-the-wall hairdressers and flaky old doorways like this one.

Cafe Maure Casablanca Morocco

5. Cafe Maure, October 2008. Moroccan food is great and there are an abundance of dining options in Casablanca, from cheap and cheerful street food shacks and plastic table and chair restaurants to fancier French fusion garden restaurants like Cafe Maure, located in the city’s trendy port area. The restaurant is beautifully crafted within the walls of an old 18th century fortification with a lovely stone courtyard, resplendent mosaic tiling and tables nestled between lush trees and plants. They do a lot of seafood, but I remember S and I going for traditional staples like Chicken tajine and lamb cous cous. Dishes here aren’t expensive as you’d maybe think (most go for between 12-20 Euros), though the actual size of the portions may disappoint some. You can find Cafe Maure on Boulevard des Almohades, it’s open daily from 08:30 to midnight. 

Like this? Then why not have a look at my other 5s on Casablanca.

I’ve also written a bunch of 5s from all around Morocco.

Leighton Literature travel reports short stories travel blogger

 

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Freelance travel writer, voice over and English teacher from London. Former music and film journalist, interviewer of the stars. Passionate about travel, film, music, football, Indian food.

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