THE SOUL OF ROSES
Morocco’s Valley of Roses, wonderfully enhanced by men for centuries, is a true festival for the senses.
Between the High Atlas Mountains and the edge of the Sahara
A drop of nectar glides over a petal from the most delicate rose ever. Sparkling under the sun, the precious bead rolls from the petal to the steam and leaves, finishing its course into the warm soil of the Valley of Roses, in between the High Atlas Mountains and the edge of the Sahara. Let us embark on a journey amongst the wonders of this Moroccan region, in which arid landscapes are punctuated by miraculous oases.
The Valley of Roses
The best time of the year to make the most of the region’s incredible palette? In May, when the Rose Festival happens and everything is covered in red and pink hues. Following desert tracks, we reach the picturesque and fragrant Valley of Roses, where people still cultivate a very fruitful land hidden in between the mountains with the help of the invaluable Assif n Im’Goun river. Here, roses are blooming amongst monochrome rocks and Kasbahs, ancient fortified houses built hundreds of years ago, as well as palm, olive and fig trees, filling the air with their rich and sweet, honey notes, full of sun and love from the women who harvest them in the morning. The waltz of hands, tirelessly picking thousands and thousands of petals, has something hypnotic to it. The movement of flowers, twirling from bushes to baskets, is as light as air, each petal finally joining huge carpets of roses cleared from their stems and leaves. Flowers in their purest and most precious form, aromatic and dazzling, are then sorted, mixed, dried, piled up… The result is a magical display of nature wondrously transformed by whole families and communities, working hand in hand to make this little miracle happen days after days.
Dar Alham, the “The House of Dreams”
The perfect base to benefit from this stunning spectacle? The palm grove of Skoura, a little village full of Kasbahs. Erected with earth and straw and thus completely integrated in their surroundings, these camouflage buildings instantly stimulate the imagination. The colours, the scents, the dust, the light… There, Dar Alham, also known as “La maison des rêves” (“The house of dreams”), a XIXth-century Kasbah converted into an otherworldly hotel, is theatrical. Restored in a very tasteful and respectful way by the hand of man in total harmony with nature, the edifice and its outdoor pool, ringed by a lush vegetation and flourishing gardens, proudly overlook the Atlas Mountains. Its champagne colour, elegant and warm, sometimes drapes itself in copper and rose gold reflections, reminding us of the feminine shade of L’Eau d’Issey Pure Pétale de Nectar’s graceful bottle. An enchanting vision…
Dar Alham, Douar Oulad Cheik Ali, Skoura, Morocco. www.darahlam.com
Credits photos :
Header: LazyPixel / Brunner Sébastien
Paul Kühl / EyeEm : image 1 (left – crop)
Sundayhill: image 1 (left), video & 2 (right)
Chris Griffiths: image 1 (right)