Musee de l'Art de Vivre; Marrakech
This place was really hard to find, even with a friend who is a local, helping me & lots of stops to ask people in the area.
There are some helpful signposts, but not enough for us!
This Museum was, in fact, originally conceived & restored as a commercially run 'maison d'hote' called "Jnan al Madina"..... but, with only 3 letting bedrooms, it never made any money and so the enterprising owner has turned it into a small museum featuring the decorative arts instead.
Entry price is 12 dhms and, frankly, it is well worth it as, whether or not you are interested in Moroccan embroidery, weaving etc, this is one of the most beautiful classically styled riads I have seen.
The courtyard is paved with lovely blue tiles and you can relax there with a drink.
On each floor, some rooms are styled as they would have been when the building was being used as a house; others are solely furnished with glass, museum - style cases containing examples of craft skills. There are explanatory boards in English as well as French
The mix between classic styling & modernity is best seen in the 'hammam', which is traditionally conceived, but is most definitely of the 21st century.
The piece de resistance, however, is undoubtedly the terrace, where there is a very inviting canopied area, with comfy sofas just begging to be sat on- and on sitting down, the panorama that greets you is fantastic, with the Koutubia mosque minaret centrally placed, and behind it, the ( currently snow capped) Atlas Mountain Range.
Just sitting up there in perfect peace, drinking in this view, is enough to create a special 'Marrakech Moment' or, in my case, to remind me why I bought a ruin of a riad, with a dream of achieving such a tranquil environment.
If you are here on your first visit to Marrakech and have ended up staying in one of the large hotels on the 'Strip' leading out of town, half an hour here will show you what you have missed, and make you determined to book a riad for your next visit.
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