The ingredients for felicity are all there: clear water, golden beaches as far as the eye can see, fishing boats fortresses from 1300 and through the streets there also donkey carts. Up to 30 years ago it was a delabré village falling apart. Then in 1978 it rose to new life when they opened the Moussems Culturel International, festivals – including the concerts of flamenco, design exhibitions and poetry readings – lasting from July to September which attracts more than hundred thousand visitors and artists, including painters like Berbers, members of the Saudi royal family and Japanese collectors.
In Krikia, the bastion that goes down to the sea as a terrace there are groups of boys with glasses and fashion jeans wandering along white couples contemplating the medina where artists every year paint lively murals. You walk while stopping here and there, attracted by the mosque and its minaret octagonal, from small marine cemeteries with the graves decorated with ceramic mosaics, from antique shops and art galleries; it is like mecca for interior designers around the world. And then there’s palace of Raissouli, a jewel built by a bandit who was proclaimed “Pasha”. The lounge, a parade of zellige and stained wood opens onto a large balcony from which you can admire the play of light chiaroscuro of the medina.
The regulars that do not want to lose a dinner of lobster, shrimp and sea bass can head to Casa Garcia (51, av. Moulay Hassan Ben Mehdi, (Tel: 00212 539 417465). Then you can take refuge in the charming maison d’hote Manara, 23, rue M’jimaa (Tel: 00212 539 416964). But a must is Berbari, a couple of architects, all in traditional materials, where the evening can go along with the sound of a grand piano, with candle lit tables (Tel: 00212 66029 5454).
Asilah is also the outpost to reach beaches such as the south Rada, where the restaurant Chez Mounir, which is a paillotte by the sea, serves excellent family cuisine in a decoration from the end of the world. But even M’Soura, 27 km south-east, a mysterious stone circle only in North Africa: 167 granite blocks high even 6 meters. While, Moulay Bousselham is a seaside resort with a lot of dunes and lagoon where you can take a boat trip with a picnic. But the most poignant is Paradise Beach, enclosed by high cliffs thirty minutes of Asilah, bathed in golden light at sunset, the men dressed in white djellabia scan the panoramic horizon.
By Ina K