Sometimes to experience the essence of a place, you have to venture out of its heart and beyond its periphery. Marrakech is a seething urban cauldron, dust-tinged and hectic, petrol vapor refracting in waves off of its every surface.
But drive 40 km out of the city, and sputtering mopeds give way to donkey carts, and then to nomadic shepherds herding lambs by the roadside, and then to nothing but undulating red dunes. Eventually, there is breeze, there is quiet, there is calm.
I really couldn’t fathom a better way to end my trip to Morocco than a day at La Pause eco-resort blissing out over lunch in an authentic Bedouin tent surrounded by the remote tranquility of the desert.
Run by an eccentric French expat (of which I saw several roaming about fitting that description), La Pause aims to provide an authentic and timeless desert experience, with no electricity, and minimal modern conveniences.
The chef at La Pause offers a set menu cooked with local seasonal ingredients, and your 5-course meal is served under a private nomadic tent. All produce is transported daily from Marrakech and not stored on location, ensuring the freshest, most delicious ingredients go into every bite.
Lunch started with a rocket salad, freshly picked from the garden and seasoned using the extra virgin olive oil pressed from La Pause’s olive groves.
All visitors have free access to the grounds – go on, wander through the olive groves, take a dip in the swimming pool, or just stretch out to warm yourself on a sun lounger.
We sipped rose wine and gallivanted around the Agafay desert terrain.
And what a special surprise when I spied the La Pause boutique! Leave it to the French to identify stylish wares of superb quality – without the dread of having to haggle animatedly for ages to get a fair price! Berber cushion covers, hand painted glass tableware, and woven baskets. Viola!
This magical desert experience was by far the highlight of my Moroccan trip. I have to say I probably won’t ever go back to Marrakech in the future; but if I do, I’ll definitely be La Paus-ing here again!