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The ksar of Aït-ben-Haddou in the province of Ouarzazate.

- © Pav-Pro Photography Ltd / Shutterstock
Morocco
Morocco

A land of adventure and light

Morocco in short

Whether you come to visit historic monuments, to admire the diversity of its splendid landscapes, for its outstanding artistic heritage, to discover imperial cities, to do sport, to walk in the desert or to relax in the sun... All this is possible in Morocco. In just a few hours by plane, you can step out of the cold mists of Europe and into the serene, soothing warmth of the land of the setting sun.

The most accessible country in Africa from the Old Continent, Morocco attracts a varied clientele thanks to its many tourist facilities to suit all budgets. Atlantic Ocean or Mediterranean Sea, desert or mountain, trendy imperial cities or confidential ones, there's something for everyone. When it comes to food, Moroccan cuisine puts spices in the limelight, although their task is to add colour and flavour, with dishes remaining relatively mild. A safe and welcoming destination, Moroccan hospitality has been renowned the world over for thousands of years.

La médina bleue de Chefchaouen au Maroc.

- © dsaprin / Shutterstock

Coming to Morocco is sure to be a change of scenery. The country has a rich cultural and historical heritage. Mosques, palaces and Berber-style houses are just some of the jewels to be discovered during your stay in Morocco. Inherited from various Arab and Berber dynasties, the centre of the country is home to the imperial capitals of Marrakech and Meknes. The latter invite you to discover a successful marriage between tradition and modernity. Surrounded by ramparts, these cities, with their ever-changing landscapes, are home to an intense architectural, cultural and artistic heritage that is unique to each of them.

On the Atlantic coast or in the Atlas mountains, the kasbahs and medinas, these cities adorned with palaces, mosques and mausoleums, reveal their secrets as you stroll through the souks, fountains and winding streets. An escapade that will delight bargain hunters, art lovers and the simply curious.

An excursion into the Sahara desert on camelback.

- © Aurelia Teslaru / Shutterstock

Endowed with a thousand and one colours, Morocco instantly charms travellers with its diverse landscapes. From the desert to its oases, via the Atlas mountains, Berber villages and the Mediterranean Sea andAtlantic Ocean, this Maghreb country offers unforgettable moments.

The land at the end of Morocco, the Moroccan Deep South attracts few tourists. The lack of infrastructure to receive them is certainly an obstacle to the development of tourism in the region. It's a pity, because southern Morocco is a veritable paradise for nature lovers. A few towns dot the Atlantic coast and the desert, but for the rest there is nothing but ocean, desert and wind. Scattered here and there are fishing villages and nomadic camps. It's easy to understand why Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was depressed when he was stationed in Tarfaya, and why the solitude weighed so heavily on him. But if you're looking for a relaxing holiday away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, Morocco's Deep South is undoubtedly the ideal destination.

The waves crash against the ramparts of Essaouira's old town.

- © streetflash / Shutterstock

Forget Marrakech, Agadir or Essaouira for a moment and discover a different Morocco, more authentic and traditional, but also more surprising. Fez the spiritual, Tangier the rebellious and Tetouan the discreet are just some of the towns to visit as you stroll through the narrow streets of the medina and wander through the various souk districts. But the north of Morocco is also a delight for those who like to relax. The beaches along the Mediterranean coast are ideal for taking full advantage of the sea, and the water temperature is always very pleasant. The north of the Kingdom is an ideal destination for discovering Morocco in a different way, away from the tourist spots and club hotels. In short, Morocco is a country where the word "travel" takes on its full meaning.

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The must-sees

All the must-sees

How to get there?

The easiest way to get to Morocco from France is, of course, by plane. Marrakech is a 3-hour flight from Paris, Casablanca 2 hours and Agadir 3h30. Tangiers, Fez, Rabat, Ouarzazate and Essaouira also have international airports.

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Where to stay?

Morocco has a large number of hotels to suit all tastes: luxury hotels, palaces, club hotels, boutique hotels, riads, etc. Marrakech and Agadir are still the two main destinations for accommodation, but there are also some fine hotels throughout the country. All in all, Morocco is moving upmarket when it comes to hotels.

Practical information

Documents and visa :

To stay in Morocco, you must have a valid passport covering your entire stay. Since 2015, passports have been compulsory, including for groups on organised tourist trips, and entry to Morocco is no longer possible on presentation of the national identity card alone. A visa is not required for French nationals.

Money :

The Moroccan currency is the dirham (MAD), which can only be obtained in Morocco. Money is exchanged in banks and approved establishments, which are indicated by a gold sign. At the end of the operation, they will issue you with a slip, which you will need at the end of your stay if you wish to convert your remaining dirhams back into your own currency. ATMs in major cities accept all international credit cards. You can also go to banks with a credit card or cheque book. Major hotels, restaurants, shops and even some shops in the souks accept credit cards. Be aware that it is against the law to import or export dirhams.

Electricity:

Sockets deliver 220 V in new buildings but 110 in older ones, sometimes both. Sockets are of the French type, so an adaptor is generally not necessary.

Health:

No vaccinations are compulsory for travel to Morocco. Avoid drinking tap water and water from street vendors, preferring bottled spring water. Find out what you need to know before swimming in the wadis. Finally, don't forget your bowel pills if you're fragile, and take precautions against insect bites and the sun.

Language:

The language of education, administration and the media is classical Arabic. The everyday languages are dialectal Arabic and Berber, spoken mainly in the Rif, Atlas and Souss regions. Most Moroccans speak French but also Spanish and English.

Tipping:

Tipping (or bakchich) is a custom deeply rooted in the country's tradition. For some, it is the only source of income. According to custom, it is better to tip little but often. Allow between 10 and 15% of the total amount in restaurants if the service is not included, 10% for taxis, between 5 and 10 dirhams for hotel valet parking, and the same amount for luggage. When you leave the hotel, you will be asked to pay a mini-tax, which will go to the tourist promotion fund.

Transport :

The car is the ideal means of transport for travelling around the country, so you can stop at will to enjoy the scenery. The highway code is international and French is used on road signs. There are plenty of car hire companies in the major towns. However, you need to be careful not only with motorists but also with cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, carts and even animals. Hit the horn! One last recommendation: fill up with petrol as soon as possible.

Coaches are cheaper and can take you almost anywhere. It is the most common form of public transport in Morocco. Alternatively, "big taxis" provide airport, inter-city and suburban connections. If you can, agree the fare before you set off. In town, you can use small, inexpensive taxis. Likewise, when the meter fails, specify the amount in advance.

Best time of year:

The best times to enjoy Morocco are spring and autumn when the temperatures are pleasant. Winter can be a little cold in the north of the country, and the mercury can quickly reach record highs in southern Morocco in summer.

Time difference:

Morocco is located in the GMT+1 time zone, but since 2018, the country no longer changes from winter to summer time. As a result, there is no time difference between France and Morocco in winter, and Morocco is one hour ahead of France in summer. However, the country changes time during Ramadan, so it is two hours ahead of France during this period.

lightbulb_outline Editor's tip

The Muslim calendar is the rhythm of Moroccan life. Public holidays are largely derived from it, the call to prayer announced from the minarets five times a day stops time for a few minutes, and during Ramadan the country seems to hibernate. In terms of everyday customs, you should avoid drinking alcohol in public. You should also refrain from criticising the King or the royal family.

Useful links
Website of the Moroccan Tourist Office :

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