Nowadays, shopping in the Fes Medinas is a more civilised experience than I remember many years ago. The malpractice of guides blocking a tourist's exit from antique and carpet shops, intimidating them to complete a sale and secure their commission, appears to be in decline, except perhaps at some of the less reputable establishments. Any psychological pressure to buy inside the shop should be ignored with the retort "yemken ghedda!" (maybe tomorrow) followed by a swift but dignified exit from the premises, physically brushing any deliberately obstructive bodies aside.
This year, in Fes Medinas fixed prices were notable by their absence, so the time-honoured practice of haggling is essential, an art form requiring patience and determination. Before finding something which I specifically plan to buy, I search around in as many shops as possible to find a quality item, when this has been identified I return the next day to start the process.Some shops are deliberately darkened to disguise imperfections in the stock, so taking it outside into good daylight for close scrutiny is essential.
It can be advantageous to buy from one of the many street 'factories' thereby cutting out the middle man, but the craftsmen often cannot speak English or French which will be the preserve of the shopkeeper, but this can be resolved by a combination of sign language and scribbling down an offer on a scrap of paper. A few years back I bought a quality wool Djelaba from an old man in Chefchaouen in this manner, we kept exchanging prices on scraps of paper until a satisfactory agreement was reached between us.
The salesman will always state a first price expecting it to be hacked down to at least half, in an attempt to ridicule a lower offer, he will often scoff at it and reply " you theenk I geev eet away?" in a bid to accelerate the price upwards, this can be countered by exclaiming "safee" (enough) and starting to leave the shop, his reaction will either be to shout back the customer accepting his or her price offer, or abandoning the sale.
What to buy: The list is endless....leather jackets, belts, bags, slippers, antiques, chessboards, backgammon sets, all variety of clothing, jewellery and souvenirs.
What to pay: Fixed prices are rare, how much you spend depends on your haggling skills and the shopkeeper's desperation to acquire ready cash!
- Budget Travel
- Arts and Culture
Marjane or Acima: Where do I buy wine & beer?
Big supermarkets in the Nouvelle Ville (taxi ride from th Madina)
Marjane being the bigger of the 2
What to buy: If you do not want to spend a fortune on alcohol in the few licensed places in the medina
(e.g. Mezzanine, Riad Fes, Riad Alkantara) then jump in a petit taxi for ca DH12 - 20 and buy some bottles of wine to take back to your hostel or riad.
Most places will let you drink on their terrasse as long as you do not over do it.
Be aware alcohol is still "forbidden" in the medina, so be sure to carry it back in a black carrier bag or covered up in some way.
It's all about dscression, even if most can guess what is in that black bag.
What to pay: Local wine - Gerrouane is the best choice be it red, white or Gris. Bottle DH 30 - 45
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
everywhere...: sugar, tea, coca cola...
There are few streets in old Fez
that do not have many shops.
The basic shop is the tiny grocery store, where basic commodities like sugar,
tea, tins and Coca Cola can be bought.
Often there will be shops selling goods needed by the local craftsmen.
In slghtly wider streets, the more typical touristic shop is found.
But even this will often have a good
part of its money coming
in from local customers