"Rabat or Salé" Sale by JLBG

Sale Travel Guide: 40 reviews and 104 photos

Rabat and Salé

Salé is the twin town to Rabat. It is a few kilometers away, across the Bou Regreg oued (river). There is just a bridge to pass. From that bridge, you can see, very close, the Rabat Hassan tower. However the medina of Rabat and the medina of Salé are two different worlds. As I wrote in my Rabat page, the medina and the souk of Rabat are open to everyone, locals and foreign visitors (not many real tourists)

Salé indeed !

This closed door is not the entrance in the medina of Salé though it might be an ancient entrance, as it is a few meters away from the real one but it symbolise well the atmosphere of the medina of Salé. We were three, two female companions and myself. I felt perfectly at ease but later, they told me that they were not. We strolled in a way with open air shops on both sides, selling underwears of all kind (actually, not really of all kind, if you see what I mean...), traditionnal clothing, aluminum and plastic kitchenware and everything that inhabitants of the medina needed for their living. Nothing for tourists. Why should there be ? It was evident that, though a few kilometers away from the Rabat medina, no foreigner ever wandered there. That made a strange athmosphere. There were hundreds of pairs of eyes watching us, watching these strange and unusual visitors, just curious. Often one of those guys (or even young girls !) said ''bonjour, ça va?'' (hello, how are you ?) and as I answered ''oui, ça va, labes'' (yes, that's OK [in french], that's OK [in arab]) that was it and none of them tried to go further with us as it happens in some touristy places. They were friendly but we were the aliens.
In such an environment, that would have been gross to take any photo. I did not. We would have shifted from the status of friendly aliens to the status of aggressive invaders. Better not.
I had already experienced that kind of situation elsewhere (Thinking of Tirana in 1990 with my beard !) but in that case, the amazing thing was that we were so close to Rabat, a ''modern'' town, where foreigners are not even noticed.

Vilarmar

Vilarmar

Another amazing thing is that outside the medina, but still in Sale, the atmosphere is completly different.
You must go to "Vilarmar", which means ''VILlage des ARts MARrocains'' (village of Moroccan Arts). It is called also the articraft center El-Oulja. It is worth the visit even if you are not going to buy anything. You will see all the possible articraft from all over Morocco. You will not be hassled by anybody. If you want to buy articrafts, this is the place. Unlike in the souk, each articraft has its price labelled which means that you cannot haggle, or sometimes only a little. This is fully described under the shopping head of this page.

  • Last visit to Sale: May 2004
  • Intro Updated Jun 21, 2010
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Reviews (23)

Comments (14)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Jun 21, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    They have some wonderful craftmanship in Sale. I got a giggle with the sale in Sale'. Lovely page!

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Nov 28, 2008 at 8:15 AM

    I do like pottery so I guess this would be the spot to be. Seems there isn't much more than the pottery shopping. I know the feeling to be the "odd ball" and everyone looking at you. Sometimes disconcerting...but we are all very curious.

  • uglyscot's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2008 at 9:41 AM

    I was tempted by lotsof pottery but didn't ncy carrying things to London, and then to Cairo and finally to Khartoum, so just ook a few small pieces as souvenirs.

  • Jun 23, 2008 at 5:39 AM

    Another excellent web site from you! Keep travelling, volopolo

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Feb 13, 2008 at 12:32 PM

    After all this interesting shopping with lots of variety I would be glad of a seat on the patio!

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2006 at 4:46 AM

    It would be heaven to shop without being bothered or hassled.I love to snoop & really look at things & don't like it when someone is constantly looking over my shoulders. Love the Moroccan crafts & pottery, especially the Santons.

  • sachara's Profile Photo
    Jun 26, 2005 at 5:08 AM

    The first time I visited Morocco I spent the night in Sale at a camping, but I can't remember much of this stay. Thank you for sharing this page. I'm fond of pottery all over the world.

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Apr 1, 2005 at 1:44 PM

    Great shopping tips. I remember best white cementary on a hill, local markets and a view over Rabat...

  • cadzand's Profile Photo
    Oct 28, 2004 at 1:09 PM

    What a pity I missed Salé when visiting Rabat. thanks for your comments on my Tunisia pages

  • zrim's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2004 at 7:20 AM

    Great shopping information--I think what i most want to bring back is a beautiful tajine.

JLBG

“I believe that tourists are very valuable to the modern world. It is very difficult to hate people you know. (Steinbeck)”

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