During the 10th century, the Sanhadjas Berbers, nomadic camel herders from the west of Sahara, later called the Almoravides, controlled the main trade routes across the Sahara. In the 11th century they founded Marrakech which would become the capital of their kingdom.

Later, by deciding to support the Andalusian Islam which was put in peril by the conquests of the Christian Kings, the Almoravides founded an empire from Spain to Mali, including Mauritania. Amazed by the refinement of Andalusian art, they adopted the hispanico-moorish style of Cordoba, Seville and Granada. The "L'AFRICAINE" and "LE RYAD" rooms illustrate the influences  of these two cultures on Marrakech in the past cenruries.

This is also the time they invested a lot in irrigation, especially by building "khettaras", a complex system of underground water pipes which drain the water in Marrakech. The control of the water allowed the development of the palm grove as well as the construction of many fountains, mosques, hammams and palaces with beautiful gardens.

In the medina, the "palais-riad" is a Moroccan private palace with an interior garden and no windows on the streets called "derbs".From outside nobody can imagine the uniqueness of luxury, space, comfort and beauty. Le "Palais Lamrani" is one of them and unveils its secrets only to guests. As with the majority of private palaces in Marrakech, it was built at the begining of the 20th century on the foundations of an ancient construction.

At the beginning of the 20th century, this palace was called "Lamrani" after the name of the owners, top Moroccan officials. At this time, it was larger with a yard hitch which was common in the notable houses. At the apex of Moroccan society at this time, the Lamrani family had a lot of interest in furniture comming from Europe or the Middle East. This is why you will find "Regency" and "Victorian" furnitures next to "Syrian" and "Moroccan". The gilded mirrors reflect the soft light of crystal chandeliers. Carpets brought from Mecca are spread on the ground and the mint tea is served in crystal Saint-Louis glasses and silver teapots from England.

There are also two unique engraved brass canopy beds from England. As a sign of prestige, the host invited his guests to take a seat there. Today these beds are in " LA SULTANE" and "LE HAREM" rooms and represent an invitation to this prestigious time.

Although, the palace has been restored several times, it stell conforms to the original. The cedar ceilings and the "behous" as well as the ornaments of "zouaks" and "gebs" or the hugh metal host in the kitchen have been preserved intact. The "LE PACHA" and "L'ORIENTALE" rooms have been built in the secondary "douirias" which were used as a granary many years ago.

The unic magnificent garden of the "Palais Lamrani" is a symbol in the Muslim culture of a human representation of paradise and deserves to be called "riad". The riad comes from Andalusia and was initially a closed garden divided into four sections with a fountain in the center. This garden is a beautiful and quiet place. There we hear the sound of water, taste the flavour of the fruit trees, breathe the scent of essences...a pre-taste of paradise...



A universe of sensations

Just steps from Jemaa, the Lamrani palace grand,
The aromas, the ochre of old town atmospheric,
Wander through every souk, and then, hand in hand,
Come back with us and meet fantastic.

Just steps from Jemaa, the Lamrani palace grand,
Listen to the silence, the little bird coos,
See the garden, a few and one nights in this land,
With orchids and perfume of orange infused.

Just steps from Jemaa, the Lamrani palace grand,
From season to season, enjoy at your wil,
An Argan oil massage, a hammam scrub, and 
In a crystal pool, you can rest for if you wil.

Just steps from Jemaa, the Lamrani palace grand,
Of painters, of sculptors, discover the best,
In the lounge by the fire, with a book in your hand
Live life in the moment, give your worries a rest.

Just steps from Jemaa, the Lamrani palace grand,
Take all of your time the exquisite to taste,
Moroccan delights, recall this Orient land,
The air with cumin, mint and saffron is laced.

Just steps from Jemaa, the Lamrani palace grand,
When the time to get closer comes round about
The royal suite's decor your senses command
Awhisper a silence...then the candles snuff out.

Hervé de la Vauvre –  February 19, 2011



L’invitation au voyage

Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.

Des meubles luisants,
Polis par les ans,
Décoreraient notre chambre ;
Les plus rares fleurs
Mêlant leurs odeurs
Aux vagues senteurs de l’ambre,
Les riches plafonds,
Les miroirs profonds,
La splendeur orientale,
Tout y parlerait
À l’âme en secret
Sa douce langue natale.

Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.

Charles Baudelaire