We visited Jemaa el Fna initially during the afternoon and although there were a few orange juice sellers and other stalls, together with a few locals attracting the tourists with snake charming and monkeys it all felt a bit of a damp squib after all we had been told. This coupled with the near forty degree heat left us a little deflated but determined to see if the place would liven up later in the evening. And liven up it certainly did.
Two days later we set off for Jemaa el Fna once again but this time early evening to catch the sunset over Marrakech from one of the surrounding restaurant rooftops. This time we were not disappointed. Just before seven pm we made our way to the top level of the Hotel Restaurant Café de France. We had been recommended this place as the best to see the sunset over the city and watch the square come alive. Luckily we made the rooftop just in time to secure a table at the front and over the next hour or so the sun went down and Jemaa el Fna came to life. This was a truly wondrous sight to see from up above. The stalls expanded and just about the whole area was a wash with local vendors, entertainers and seemingly the whole population of the city. What a sight and what a way to see it. On top of the Café de France, although seemingly a little further away from the action than others, was looking directly at the sun as it descended and this gave us a brilliantly coloured perspective of the whole area. Later we then descended ourselves into the square where we never felt vulnerable or ill at ease. We wandered around the place taking in the activities, the street stalls, entertainers and the abundance of locals and tourists who were there to take in everything Jemaa el Fna had to offer. It was truly brilliant. My advice would be to get a rooftop facing where the sun goes down at about 6.45 pm ( this was September ) and watch the sun set and the square below change. Then head off into the melee below to enjoy one of the spectacles of Marrakech.
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