Haggling while shopping in the street markets in Marrakech is a big part of the fun of Morocco. However, I prefer the relaxing alternative – Ensemble Artisanal Marrakech. It is a Moroccan crafts complex sponsored by the local government.
Ensemble Artisanal Marrakech is located close to the main Jemaa el-Fnaa square, across from Cyber Park. Follow the Mohammed V avenue towards Gueliz. In a 5 min fast walk, you find the place.
L’Ensemble Artisanal complex features a variety of shops with an integrated open working place. There, you can buy housewares, furniture, musical instruments, clothes, fabrics, paintings, drawings, carpets, cosmetics, oils, ceramic mosaics, leather products, jewellery, shoes, bags, wooden sculptures, etc.
In the courtyard of the complex, there is a small café and toilet. This peaceful oasis is a perfect spot to hide from the summer heat. While drinking a glass of fresh orange juice, you can also get a henna drawing (50 MAD) or write your name in Arabic on a birthday card.
The fixed prices in Ensemble Artisanal can be slightly higher than in the Souks. But the profit goes to the local producers, so I don’t mind paying more. If you buy more goodies, the sellers will happily give a small discount or please you with a little present.
Ensemble Artisanal is a perfect place to get familiar with the prices of local goodies so you know how much to bargain in the Souks. In Ensemble Artisanal, you can buy the babouche for around 70 MAD (6 euros), while in the street markets for the same you might be asked 5 times more!
In Ensemble Artisanal, my favourite place is the leather goodies shop. E.g. for children, a great gift idea is the small leather camel. I also love the metal shops where you can buy these metal lizards as wall decorations. Artisans making local instruments can spend quite some time explaining their craft and the instruments and playing them for you.
There is no pressure to buy at Ensemble Artisanal. Artisans will approach if you ask for help; otherwise, they leave you alone to shop. In the carpet-waving studio, you can see how ladies work on their carpets and try yourself.
Have a great time exploring the Ensemble Artisanal!