Fes New Town Walking Tour, Fes

Fes New Town Walking Tour (Self Guided), Fes

Created by the French in the early 20th century, Ville Nouvelle (New Town) is a relatively modern central district of Fez. A far cry from the sensory overload provided by the old Medina, this neighborhood was originally designed to accommodate foreigners and affluent Moroccans only.

Still, Fez's Ville Nouvelle is as much 'real' Morocco as any donkey-packed lane in the old city. While some find it a bit too modern, even today, with not much going on, for most of the locals and those in the know Ville Nouvelle is indeed quite interesting and progressive product of functional urban planning.

In recent years, this most populated part of the city has had huge sums of money poured into, the benefits of which are now seen along its main artery, Avenue Hassan II, formerly known as Avenue de France. Laden with manicured lawns, tall Moroccan palm trees, flower beds and fountains, this wide thoroughfare is lined on both sides with arcaded buildings, cinemas, numerous eateries, government buildings and hotels.

Following the Avenue, you'll eventually reach the Ensemble Artisanal where, just as its name suggests, you can find lots of local handicrafts offered for sale.

At some point, in Place de Florence, (Florence Plaza, formerly Lyautey), laid out as a garden, the boulevard crosses another major avenue – Mohamed V. Not far off is the Mosquée Imam Malik (Tajamouati), one of the most important mosques in the city. At the northeastern end of Avenue Hassan II lies Place de la Résistance (Resistance Square, originally called Place Gambetta), a large roundabout with a fountain at its center.

To explore these and other attractions in the New Town of Fes in more detail, take this self-guided walking tour.
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Fes New Town Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Fes New Town Walking Tour
Guide Location: Morocco » Fes (See other walking tours in Fes)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: leticia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Avenue Hassan II
  • Centre Artisanal (Artisanal Ensemble)
  • Place Florence (Florence Square)
  • Imam Malik (Tajamouati) Mosque
  • Place de la Resistance (Resistance Square)
Avenue Hassan II

1) Avenue Hassan II

The Ville Nouvelle is anchored around Avenue Hassan II, a broad boulevard developed by the French colonial administration post-1912, offering prime spots for people-watching, especially during pleasant weather and just after sunset. Numerous cafés lining the boulevard provide the perfect vantage point to unwind and watch the spectacle unfold after a leisurely stroll.

During the colonial era, the city's main public edifices were built along and adjacent to this central avenue, showcasing a blend of architectural styles including Moresque (neo-Moorish or Moroccan), Art Deco, and Neoclassical. Arcaded buildings on either side house cinemas, cafés, restaurants, terraces, ice cream parlors, and pastry shops. While primarily catering to tourists, the area also features upscale hotels like Hotel Barceló and modern shopping and entertainment centers such as Borj Fez.

A tree-lined park area running through the median, spanning about two kilometers, provides a verdant respite amidst the lanes of car traffic. At the northeastern end of the avenue lies Place de la Résistance, a large roundabout with a fountain at its heart. Further south, along the same avenue, lies Place Florence, a wide plaza planted with trees, originally conceived as a public garden. Finally, at the southwest end of the avenue, one finds Place Ahmed El Mansour.
Centre Artisanal (Artisanal Ensemble)

2) Centre Artisanal (Artisanal Ensemble)

Typical of Moroccan cities, the government-operated Ensemble Artisanal serves as a prime spot to observe skilled artisans at work and peruse high-quality, fixed-price handcrafted goods. On the ground floor, you'll discover a diverse range of handicrafts for sale, offering a valuable opportunity to evaluate prices and quality before venturing into the bustling souks for purchases (forewarned is forearmed!).

However, the real highlight lies upstairs, where you'll encounter a fascinating assortment of carpet and embroidery workshops. Beyond the building's confines, outside, you'll also find artisans crafting metalwork, basketry, and musical instruments. It's a rare chance to witness these craftsmen and women ply their trade up close, free from any pressure to make a purchase.
Place Florence (Florence Square)

3) Place Florence (Florence Square)

Located strategically in the New Town of Fes, the tree-planted Florence Square holds a prominent position thanks to its main urban axis—a spacious boulevard with a central island that facilitates significant pedestrian traffic. This symbolic spot holds special significance for the people of Fes, drawing inspiration from the iconic Baptistery of San Giovanni in Florence, Italy, evident in its octagonal shape.

To the south of the square stands the Art Deco-style Bank al-Maghrib building, designed by architect René Canu, who combined a series of wide arches complemented by a symmetrical arrangement of rectangular windows. Adjacent to this, on the east side of Avenue Hassan II, is the Central Post Office building. Further southwest of the post office lies the Court of Appeals building, erected between 1934 and 1936 by architects Adrien Laforgue and Antoine Marchisio.
Imam Malik (Tajamouati) Mosque

4) Imam Malik (Tajamouati) Mosque

An architectural gem in the heart of Morocco's spiritual capital, this mosque is found near the Kennedy roundabout, and is commonly referred to by locals as "Tajamouâti", after its generous patron, Abdel-Hadi Tajmouati, who financed the construction. Second only to the Kairaouine Mosque in size and grandeur within the city, it is fit to accommodate up to 4,000 worshipers.

Following a decade of construction, the mosque opened its doors for the first time during Ramadan on February 4, 1994. Renowned for its modern design, it nonetheless has retained the ancient architectural character typical of Moroccan mosques. The structure has four main portals, one of which is reserved for women. Inside, there are rooms of ablutions and other amenities.

Quite busy during a day with regular service, as evidenced by the large crowds at each call to prayer, the Imam Malik Mosque also acts as a place of religious education.
Place de la Resistance (Resistance Square)

5) Place de la Resistance (Resistance Square)

Place de la Résistance is a junction between the New Town and the old Medina in Fes, offering tourists a charming destination in its own right, consisting of a large roundabout with a grand fountain in its center. This fountain is designed to synchronize its water movements with musical rhythms, orchestrating graceful rises and falls, and accompanied by lighting which is activated during the night, adding a great deal of romantic character to the whole scene. Unsurprisingly, this feature has made the fountain a favorite spot among locals, particularly for wedding parties, who frequent the area for memorable photo opportunities.

About 150 meters towards the Medina, just after the McDonald's, is Borj Fez—a sprawling shopping center spanning three levels. Inside, visitors will find 60 stores, a Carrefour hypermarket, a food court, a children's playground, and more.

Walking Tours in Fes, Morocco

Create Your Own Walk in Fes

Create Your Own Walk in Fes

Creating your own self-guided walk in Fes is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Fes Old Town Walking Tour

Fes Old Town Walking Tour

North and west of the fabled Atlas Mountains of North Africa is the ancient city of Fes, or Fez. It is centered on the Fes River.

In the year 789 Idris I founded the city and the Idrisid dynasty. The city was two settlements on either side of the river. In the 11th century, Sultan Yusuf ibn Tashfin established Almoravid rule. He united the settlements into Fes el-Bali. The Almoravids were...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles