Day trip to Azrou

Day trip to Azrou

The little town of Azrou lies about 80 kilometers south of Fez, and makes a great day trip from Fez. Tucked between steep wooded hills of the Middle Atlas, Azrou takes its name from the rocky volcanic outcrop nearby. The livestock souk is a big part of the market, with buyers and sellers dodging truckloads of sheep and other farm animals. The sprawling souk on a rock-strewn hillside offers a gritty glimpse into everyday life in the Moroccan countryside. Azrou’s Tuesday souk draws thousands of people, and for a traveler seeking out good buys on textiles, or like Tom and me, on the prowl for bits and bobs to furnish a traditional house, it is a great source of carpets and miscellaneous used goods.

Textiles old and new

In a corner plot occupied by sellers of carpets and textiles, the wares line each vendor’s section of marketplace turf. Across the way, teapots, keys, and old timepieces litter blankets spread under a bold sky. Vendors squat with a cigarette and cup of tea, squinting under a bold sun, ready to haggle.

My goal for the day was a stash of cushion covers for our house in Fez, preferably made from old kilims. Several vendors had many to choose from; the hardest part was deciding which ones to leave behind. Mission accomplished!

A stop for luncheon in Imouzzer du Kandar on the way back to Fez was the perfect place to celebrate our purchases. We enjoyed a decadent western-style meal of fresh trout, salad, and roast potatoes—with wine from nearby Meknes. At 1,345 meters, the restaurant offers great mountain views to match the food. Highly recommended!

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Azrou has beautiful cedar forests, cherry and apple trees and friendly people. Although the town is best known to travelers for the largest market in the Middle Atlas, there are many other reasons to go there. The area’s other attractions include natural springs, hiking trails, and the Atlas Cedar Forest, home to the endangered Barbary macaque.