A little piece of France in Gueliz


When we think of the Gueliz neighborhood, we think of shops and hip restaurants, but are you familiar with its history ? Let us take you on a virtual Marrakech city ride until we take you on a real sidecar tour…


Marrakech Insiders - Gueliz


In march 1912, Morocco signs an agreement with France called the « protectorat », Liautey, a french marchal runs the show and settles down in Morocco. With a certain vision of what Morocco is and can be, his goal is to modernize the country while preserving its traditions and local customs.

In Marrakech, he decides that no building will be over 3 stories or 18 meters high, allowing all inhabitants to have a direct view on the gorgeous Atlas mountains. A new town, the Gueliz, is built outside the Medina first as a military camp at the foothills of the Gueliz Mount. The french quarter will start growing from there, large avenues appear with movie theaters, numerous villas, a central market and even a church will still stands to this day.

Talking of which, pouplar belief has it that the area is nammed gueliz because locals could not prononce the frnehc word for church (Eglise) and kept on saying Gueliz. Turns out we know a few people around here and they can all say the word « Eglise » ; the name comes form the Gueliz Mount where the french military camp was built and where the morrocan army still is to this day.

During the « Protectorat », french and locals don’t mix up very much, the Gueliz turns into a sort of Ghetto for white people according to M. Said Tabassir, a local Marrakchis.

We met an old lady who was born and raised in the Medina and who told us that, as a child, her parents took her once to Gueliz to see the market and the Harti garden which still stands.

The following Monday, when her school teacher asked her what she had done during the week end, she said she had been to France…


Marrakech Insiders - Gueliz


If you want to get out of the Medina and have a different experience of Marrakech, book a tour with us, we’ll happily show you the Art Deco let overs, the abandonned movie theatres, the military camp and so much more. It is one of our favorite parts of Marrakech ! So don’t wait and book a ride now !


Discover Marrakech city with Marrakech Insiders !


Thomas Chabrieres