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In search of Matisse's Morocco

13th-20th February 2019

Ten spaces only

FULLY BOOKED - email to go on waitlist.

Pricing and booking details below

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Many are surprised to learn that Matisse spent time painting in the medieval walled city of Tangier and was greatly inspired by North Africa's vivid colours and sharp contrasts of light and shadow.

We have put together a tour of northern Morocco offering an insight into the fascinating culture and diverse landscapes of this compelling location.

Our journey starts in Fez, one of Morocco’s four imperial cities. From the golden gates of Dar el-Makhzen to the rich history of the Mellah (Jewish quarter), we will attempt to engage with this fascinating urban sprawl  and create our own interpretative images.

The maze of alleyways through the medina (the city’s oldest neighbourhood and UNESCO World Heritage Site) is utterly unique in that it has retained much of its history and roots. We will find much to inspire us. It radiates as if lit from within - the raking light reveals textures and patterns on the rough earthen walls giving us an incredible canvas to work with.

We will take an immersive private tour to a part of Fez unseen by tourists as we explore and interact with the tanners, leather-makers, wood carvers, copper beaters and potters in their workshops.


We will also spend two nights in the blue town of Chefchaouen - surely one of the prettiest villages in Morocco. There are many theories about how it came to be such a beautifully pacifying colour - some say it was painted blue by the Jews who settled there after fleeing Hitler, others say it’s to keep the mosquitos away, while some just said it represents the colour of the ocean. Whatever the reason, we will doubtless enjoy interpreting the vibrant colours and textures of this artsy mountain village.

There are many attractions nearby - the Ras el Maa Waterfall is just outside of town. Also worthy of consideration is the scenic (and possibly snow-clad) drive up into the mid-Atlas mountains to the pretty little town of Ifrane  -  also know as the Switzerland of Morocco.

However, just as Matisse really didn't like to travel farther than a 400-yard radius from his hotel, so we will take a similar approach to our creative endeavours. This does not promise to be a frenetic tour  of every attraction in the region - we are more concerned with immersing ourselves in the culture of the area, taking our time and trying to connect in a more familiar way than a whistle-stop journey would allow.


Those of you who have travelled with us before will know that we leave nothing to chance when it comes to nourishment and hydration. That also extends to accommodation.

Following extensive research (and much excitement) we have found two delightful riads that we hope will suit us perfectly. In Fez we will spend our time at the Riad Myra - built at the beginning of the last century and now beautifully restored. This boutique, luxury riad is located in the vibrant heart of the Fes medina. As is traditional, the riad has a central courtyard  with intricate stucco work, colorful mosaics and imposing wooden doors. Surrounding the courtyard are the guest rooms, beautifully decorated with colorful drapes and brocades.

Each of their the suites contains the work of local artisans: original mosaic tile floors, intricate carved plaster, rich cedar ceilings and doors, and hand-crafted furnishings.

There are four standard rooms and eight suites.

In Chefchaouen we will have sole occupancy of the Riad Cherifa - it has just 12 rooms. Opened in 2016, it sits in the heart of Chefchaouen’s old medina and comprises two traditional houses, with the Andalucian-Moroccan architecture characteristic of the city. Its rooms and suites are appointed in a beautiful style, with traditional mosaics, woodwork and antique furnishings throughout.

As is customary in Morocco there is a roof terrace. This one overlooks the mid-Atlas mountains. It will doubtless prove a very important place for us to convene with camera and drink at the end of the day where we can sit and watch the sun descend over the distant hills.



DREAMING IN COLOUR - in search of Matisse’s Morocco

13th February - 20th February 2019



Because we are taking over both riads in their entirety, we have to accept all the rooms they have. As these are priced differently, we feel the easiest and fairest way is to price the tours accordingly.

There are 5 spaces available with standard rooms priced at  £1,950, 6 spaces with suites priced at £2,150 and  one space with the magnificent master suite in Fez at £2,300(sold).

Rooms will be sold on a first come, first served basis. Doug and I will take whichever two rooms are left


(€2185; $2,550)


(€2,400; $2,800)


(€2,575; $3,000)  SOLD




4 nights  single room accommodation at the the  Riad Myra including breakfast.

2 nights accommodation at the Riad Cherifa including breakfast.

One night at Riad Passiflora close to Fez airport prior to our early morning departure on the 20th Feb.

Transfers to and from Fez Airport and around the region.

Private tour of Fez to discover areas unseen by tourists and meet with and photograph the artisans at work.

Tour from Chefchaouen to the town of Ifrane (known as Little Switzerland) into the snow-covered mid Atlas mountains if time and inclination allows.

Tuition from Valda and Doug

Max, 10 clients.



Flights, insurance, meals (apart from those listed), airport transfers, should your flight not coincide with ours.

Fitness level - moderate. Gentle walking. Not suitable for those with limited mobility.

Average temperatures, both locations 18C


Air Arabia (Maroc) operate direct flights from London Gatwick to Fez. Flying time about three hours.



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14. It is a term of the contract between us that you will obtain the appropriate travel insurance cover before you set out on the tour or workshop (whether abroad or in this country). The insurance must cover the loss, expenses and damages arising from, including but not limited to, the cancellation of the tour or workshop (whether in whole or in part), personal accident and injury, medical and repatriation costs (for overseas tours), loss of baggage and personal money and belongings and flight cancellations and delays.

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Last updated 24.10.18

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