Morocco, Fes, Jnane Sbil Garden.
Yoko Aziz / age fotostock
These meticulously manicured formal gardens on the edge of the medina were planted over a century ago. Inevitably, somewhere along the way they fell into disrepair, but after several years of replanting, renovation, and the odd scandal (reputedly, a pile of human bones were dug up here during the process), they reopened in 2011 as a glorious version of their former selves. In a city that’s near desert much of the year, the gardens represent the only proper green space, a literal breath of fresh air just when you need it most. Straddling the medina and the Mellah (the Jewish quarter), the gardens are the perfect picnic pit stop on a sunny day of exploring Fes, and provide a balm to the frenetic energy of the souks. You’re not allowed to throw down your picnic blanket just anywhere, but you can sneak a sandwich on a shady bench. Amble through, taking in the zellij-tiled water gardens, festooned with roses and lulled by tinkling fountains. Admire the towering palms and poplar trees before circling back around the pond to the ancient waterwheel. Hit the kitschy, slightly-down-at-the-heels-but-charming-anyway Café La Noria for a pot of mint tea. Or try Mezzanine, a rooftop terrace lounge, for a cold beer or a glass of chilled Moroccan rosé with lush views of the garden’s canopy. (The park is closed on Mondays.)
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