My View From Fez, Part One

I’ve been in Fez for a little over 24 hours and I’m not gonna lie, it’s a completely overwhelming experience.  The kind of overwhelming that’s half anxiety and half excitement, mostly due to the fact that it’s the most exotic place I’ve ever been and I feel incredibly foreign.  I’ve done a lot of traveling and when I say “exotic”, that means that Istanbul is practically Los Angeles compared to Fez.  Not really, but…you get what I’m saying.  Fez is not Marrakech where there are tons of tourists all over the place.  There are definitely tourists here, but Fez is the old city and the traffic here is caused by donkeys, not by cars. It’s the real deal.  A place where you get a mad reality check about the world we live in and all the insanity, beauty, and rawness is thrown in your face.   It’s been an intense day, as I’m sure you can tell by the mood of this post!  But all that aside, I’m beyond happy to be staying at my friend Nina’s place that is part of a gorgeous riad in the medina.  She knows the lay of the land and has been introducing me to her peeps left and right who have been incredibly welcoming.  And, it doesn’t hurt that she speaks Arabic.  I feel well taken care of by one of my best friends along with her housekeeper who has been feeding me the most delicious home cooked meals.  The layers of this magnificent city are beginning to peel away and I’m anxious to see what awaits.  Today I started my day listening to the call to prayer (beautiful) and ended it with pigeon poop on my leg (not so beautiful).  But all the things in between were pretty magical, as you will see below…

This is the terrace at Nina’s, and that little gem with the blue door is my cozy room.  I took this photo before it was about to rain and I love the light.

Nina’s entryway (and Nina!)

Love all the old doors to the riads.

The staircase at Nina’s – how amazing are those colors?

My ideal outdoor rocking chair, on the terrace by my room

I want to take this door home with me.  I nearly lost my mind when I saw this.

One of the bedrooms at the riad Nina lives in.  THOSE DOORS.  The detail and craftsmanship behind all of the woodwork is insane.

Nina took me to her friend Fouad’s riad, which I highly recommend staying at if you visit Fez.  It’s called Riad Les Oudayas and I promise you won’t be mad.

This is one of the sitting rooms/library.

Love the old crates filled with books and magazines.  Now if only I could get that tile…

One of the rooms at Riad Les Oudayas

When the light streams in through the stained glass it creates the most radiant, magical rainbows on the wall.

A tiled lap pool at the riad.

Another guest room…

with these tiled floors throughout.

A guest bathroom

Hand painted Moroccan dishes displayed in the guest room

I fell in love with this red dresser.  It’s kind of the most perfect vanity.

The view from the terrace of Riad Les Oudayas.

The doors to the terrace.  How stunning is that emerald green tiled wall?

Ok.  So I freaked out over this kitchen.  I’ve got mad love for slate grey kitchens.  This is a plaster that is commonly used in Morocco and this is literally the perfect shade of grey.  So simple but rich, especially with the colored dishes displayed.

A typical Moroccan breakfast at the riad.

Holy cow dee-lish breads and pastries

One of the caretakers pouring our mint tea.  I loved everything about this breakfast.

More to come! xo


Filed under Art, Culture, Interiors, Lifestyle, Travel

127 responses to “My View From Fez, Part One

    everything is gorgeous. i want to be there!! can’t wait to see more pictures. miss you love!

  2. Mitzi

    i am DYING over every photo!!! you are SOO LUCKY to be there mama! Hugs to Nina! XOXO

  3. Sooooo beautiful! The colors are amazing…but I love the very first picture the best of your room xo

  4. These last two posts…wow wow!
    I’m so glad you are having a beautiful time.

  5. Abbey

    That first picture makes my heart melt like lemon drops :) Gorgeous photos!

  6. Insane is the word. It’s an artists dream. Enjoy.

  7. Great shots. I love Fez. That Riad looks so familiar …although I stayed at La Maison Bley up in Dar Bartha Square.
    Great post,

  8. Amazing pics….love the tiled lap pool!

    Congrats on making FP!

  9. Awesome photos. I love the turtle. Congrats on Freshly Pressed.

  10. Dita Faulkner

    Great stuff! Love it!

  11. Thanks for taking me on a little vacation this morning!

  12. Enjoyed the pics! Nice article.

  13. Utterly GORGEOUS! I wont some dishes, and a couple of those doors, some tiles and those potted plants. Oh and the courtyard table sets and the food looked good too! There shopping done:)

  14. So I take it you have not yet been to the Medina, I guarantee you will love it. Apart from the smell in the Tannery, the oldest in the world so make sure you have something to cover your nose/mouth as the mint you are given is nowhere near strong enough LOL.

    Fez rates as one of my favourite places of all time, as you say so totally foreign. Enjoy

  15. Thank you for renewing my resolve to go to Japan. (Trust me: there is a correlation :)

  16. okay I am filled with envy . You have a wealthy wealthy friend. but thank you for the pictures. I must now deal with my envy .

  17. Your photos are amazing and have inspired me to create a colour palette already. Thank you & enjoy your trip. Look forward to your next post.

  18. I want to go! I love the architecture and the design flourishes, the doors, the tiles. So nice.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing these pictures! I’ve never been out of the US…but Morocco and Ireland are my two dream destinations!!

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!!

  20. These pictures are amazing. I have been wanting to visit Morocco for years and it looks like Fez is the place to go :)


  21. What a gorgeous place! You’re so lucky to be there!

  22. OMG , i came across such a beautiful piece of archeology via your post. these pics made me say “Aww, how cute. THANKS ALOT!!

  23. Great post! I was just in Morocco volunteering in Rabat for a week and am finally finishing up writing about it on my blog. I loved Morocco! If you have time, you must go to a hammam! it is the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced there and definitely a must! Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  24. wow, ist so beautiful.. thanks for share

  25. Cayenne

    Congratulations for being freshly pressed!
    The place & photos are simply beautiful. Bon voyage!

  26. OMG- how stunning! Your pictures are like from some glamourous travel/interior design magazine!

  27. What pictures ! Fez looks great. Looking forward to more pics. :)

  28. Ved

    The pics are just lovely! makes me wanna visit the place like right now!

  29. This is a beautiful place! You are very lucky to have Nina as your friend. I would love to see the food :)

  30. i love your pictures, great share. thanks

  31. WOW! It looks amazing!! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos! :)

  32. Stumbled across your blog from Freshly Pressed – beautiful photographs! It looks like a very special place. Clare x

  33. carleennimrod

    Morocco is one of my FAVORITE places in the world, especially Fez! I’ve been there twice, visiting a friend like you. Your photos are beautiful–have a great time and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  34. Dakota


    I LOVE this.

    Fez, I want you. Now.

  35. Shana Sarin

    everything looks unbelievably dreamy, can’t wait to see more pics!

  36. what a cool place – looks surreal!

  37. 48colorrainbow

    With those tile colors, it looks like the pool is empty.

    And the food does look delicious.

  38. I came across your blog in freshly pressed. My family is Moroccan, but I haven’t been there since I was 11. Looking at your pictures, brought back some memories of my visit that I hadn’t thought of in a long time. (Like the fact that we had freshly-squeezed orange juice every morning for breakfast). Great pictures and thank you for the flash backs!

  39. Amazing. So ironic, I was listening to ‘Adam’s Lullaby’ by Natacha Atlas, when I signed into my wordpress account and then found your blog on FP. Perfect timing! The pictures you took are such a nice little peek into another world, another time…

  40. Gorgeous photos. Man, I loved Fez. The souks. You’re right it has an older feeling than Marrakech. And my area rug rode on a donkey to my bus. Haha. Istanbul looks more like a fantasy land with the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque.

    Thanks for taking me to memory lane. Good times.

    Congratulations on being FP! :-)

  41. Regina

    That’s what I like about those countries; the houses look very welcoming. It’s like the doors NEED to be very big, so they can show you their hospitality. I’d love to go there one…

  42. What a beautiful place! I LOVE the doors as well. IF only one would have fit in your suitcase.

  43. Thank you so much for posting these beautiful pictures! The doors, tiles, pottery, everything is amazing! You have a gift. Thank you for sharing your perspective with ‘the world’.

  44. Varly

    Nice pictures !

  45. I love all the colors in these photos. The most “exotic” place I’ve been is Alicante, Spain and my first day of exploring the city including pigeon poop…. on my head. So the leg isn’t bad.

  46. Great pictures! Makes me want to travel.. lots!

  47. Mun

    I love your ‘eye’ ! Each and every picture is a gem and truly reveals the character of the place. Beautiful…

  48. Wow. Double plus wow. Amazingly beautiful. I’m putting Fez on my list of places to go, for sure.

  49. oh wow … the pictures are just so well taken and the place even more amazing!

  50. Jules

    really enjoyed all the doors! looks like you had a wonderful time. congrats on getting on fp!

  51. Absolutely love the pics. I went about a year ago, amazing experience. Would love to go back.

  52. Really interesting, felt like I was actually there myself. Beautifully described by your photographs…

  53. The greatest thing about WordPress is meeting adventurers like yourself! Great pics, by the way! Have fun and keep blogging.

  54. So beautiful- Thanks for taking us along w/ you. ;)

  55. I want to undestand more about your comparison to LA and Istanbul or whatever. I spent a night in LA spring 2008 with my son and his father. To top it off we were in a bad part of the city but lodged up in a nice hotel that my parents’ had paid for (we had missed our flight back to Vermont) and the feeling of it was unreal and surreal for me. My mind kept going back to text book images of what you know like a gang banger area of LA is supposed to be like…sociology. I felt like I could feel the etheral darkeness of it creeping in through the windows.

  56. It’s so beautiful. I’m jealous.

  57. Amazing pictures! You are so lucky to be able to stay in such a beautiful place – enjoy!

  58. hey, your blog is pretty cool.

  59. Hannibal Zouk

    Such an amazing place to live. I’d love to visit someday, stay for a week or two. I love the Moroccan culture. And it’s so beautiful and “old world”!

  60. the scenary is very beautiful

  61. whoa- looks like i’m a little late to the party! i too am dyingggg over these images! i’m so happy you’re having a great time. everything looks so amazing and special and wonderful…can’t wait to see more!

  62. Love your pics, we are heading to Italy, Portugal and Spain in 5 weeks to take some cultural pics ourselves….we have had a bit of a warm up if you’re keen to see

    Keep up the good work :)

  63. Fez looks absolutely incredible. A few of my friends have make the trek over there, but I’d never really had it on my bucket list. Your pictures have changed my mind. I love the stained glass windows, the beautiful dresser/vanity, and the tiles- everywhere! I love it. Thanks for sharing!

  64. love the craftsmanship i see in the pictures. can do that in mass-production bullshit.

  65. Outstanding! You’ve given me the itch to travel. So gorgeous. I hope you enjoy your time, there!

  66. PR

    wow, great photos!
    keep up the goood work

  67. Marissa Jean

    What an awesome and exciting opportunity! Experiencing such a culture must be fascinating. And it’s so beautiful!

  68. Fez is very high on my list of places to go. Your photos have just moved it higher. Everything looks so beautiful I want to go immediately.

  69. Nice! Made me wanna go there :) How did you get there…from Spain or Marrakech?

  70. Love the colors! Definitely a corner to check out.

  71. Jerry Seltzer

    Was there about 7 years ago….one of the most fascinating places in the world. You have really captured it, except for the fact the streets are so narrow and it is so easy to get lost.

  72. Your work is amazing! This is so beautiful. Keep on going. Don’t ever stop, but just remember to be a kind loving traveler, and write often to the ones you leave behind.

  73. changingmoods

    So many beautiful colors and shapes in those photos! Thanks for sharing.

    Between this post and (of all things) the current season of “America’s Next Top Model,” I have been amazed with Morocco’s beauty. I think I need to find a way to take a trip out that way some day.

  74. ylx

    very nice pics!

  75. Absolutely stunning photographs and great writing. I feel as though I am there. Such a colourful, vibrant blog entry. Fantastic.

  76. MGS

    Nice Pictures ! Beatiful place indeed

  77. Those are awesome pics! I so want to be there now! :)

  78. Summer

    amzing pictures!! everything is vintage!! hope u had fun!

  79. Flight practically booked!

    Can you tell us what that riad costs to stay there?

  80. What a wonderful sight to feast my eyes upon. Enjoy your adventure! :)

  81. beautiful pictures! looking forward to more pictures.

  82. wonderful pictures!!I’m so jealous about your travel!! :)

  83. Ohhhhhhhh!!

    I wanna swimm on that pool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  84. Beautiful photos. I just had a small armchair journey this morning over my cup of coffee while viewing your photos. I simply love the colors and the beautiful, ancient architecture views. Nicely done!

  85. Great post, nice pics. can’t wait for part 2!

  86. I really love your blog – thanks for sharing things and experiences not all of us would ever have the chance to! All the best to you!

  87. Hi there

    Awesome article along with the pictures.
    Can’t wait to see for myself.

  88. (Sotirios) Nick Vakakas Gordon

    This is a wonderful virtual tour. I feel like I was there. Thank you.

  89. M

    Is the lap pool at the Riad Les Oudayas? I live in Morocco, kind of far from Fes, but I’ll be there next month touristing it up with some friends. It would be amazing to stay at a place with a pool in the summer! Beautiful pictures, by the way. I hope you enjoy the Medina!

  90. amelieveronica

    I’m completely jealous right now! I went to Fez in 2008 and LOVED it!!! Are you travelling around Morocco at all? You HAVE to go to Assilah – a really quaint seaside town. The souq and alleyways and all white and pale blue and there are giant murals on the walls. It’s so amazing. But so is Fez. Enjoy!

  91. Ann

    What an amazing experience! I love your photos – please keep posting your journey so that I can live vicariously through you :)

  92. Vince

    Great pics, and brought back memories of my trip to Fez back in 1987. Streets all over that you ain’t gettin’ NO car through! :) Thanks!

  93. Kai

    wow! lovely pictures. You make me want to visit Morocco.

  94. Gorgeous shots!
    We had a trip to Morocco planned for late June to attend a conference, which just got canceled due to concerns of possible “terrorist activity.” Any comments on this? Do you see evidence of reason for concern?

    • keepfeelingjoanna

      Hi Margaret,

      Thanks for your comment. Our friends that own riads said that there have definitely been cancellations, but no one here thinks there’s any reason to be fearful. I will admit I was a tad bit concerned before I came, but honestly a terrorist attack can happen anywhere. Moroccans are really condemning the attack, and everyone has been very nice and welcoming. You should visit if you get the chance to again!

      • Thanks for getting back to me on this. Glad to hear it’s not as bad as some people are making out. I live in Chile and know the syndrome–but I suppose if I were organizing an international conference, I’d be concerned too.
        I’m looking forward to more updates on your trip!!

    • M

      No reasons for concern – the people responsible for the bombing have been caught. The rest of the populace, as Joanna said, take every chance they can too talk about how shameful such an act was and how it does not go along with Islamic principles in any way whatsoever. While there’s theoretically a chance of an attack anywhere in the world, any time, I don’t think that the chances here are any higher than the chances of one in a European city. Hopefully you can still make it out here, even without the conference!

      • Thanks M-the conference has been rescheduled for late November, and since we’ve already paid for non-refundable tickets, we still have every intention of going!

  95. wow! Your pictures are all really great!!!

  96. Mackenzie | Red Roan Chronicles

    WOW. The colors and all the detail in everything are so amazing… it’s just so foreign I think for westerners these days to see things that are really built with true craftsmanship and made to last. And that photo with the massive, gorgeous doors opening to the bedroom? I want to live there. Immediately.

  97. changingmoods

    Oh, no! Looks like my original post got eaten. Those are lovely photos, and Morocco looks like a beautiful country.

  98. Absolutely beautiful architecture and design…

  99. I clicked on because I miss Fez, and you made me feel (thank you) as if I were a little fairy on your shoulder. Fez has an eminent scholarly history. I met some interesting people there who ran a little school.



  101. Great post thanks for sharing.

  102. nice pictures! looks very cultural there, great post!

  103. everything is so so sooo gorgeous
    please stop by and say hi

  104. I recognize these pictures from a book (I think). Did your friend write a book about her experience? I don’t remember the title of the book but really enjoyed it!

  105. Charlotte

    Oh my…those images are amazing…I want to be there…

  106. they just don’t make doors like they used to…sigh. Barcelona is another great city for door spotting!

  107. joan valencia

    We are friends of Nina. Thank you for the lovely photos. Please say hello to Nina from Joan and Isa on Laguna Avenue in Los Angeles.

  108. So I take it you have not yet been to the Medina, I guarantee you will love it. Apart from the smell in the Tannery, the oldest in the world so make sure you have something to cover your nose/mouth as the mint you are given is nowhere near strong enough LOL.

    Fez rates as one of my favourite places of all time, as you say so totally foreign. Enjoy

  109. Such an amazing place to live. I’d love to visit someday, stay for a week or two. I love the Moroccan culture. And it’s so beautiful and “old world”!

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