Marrakech – Liz Giles was born in New York. She has traveled extensively and lived abroad in Spain, South Korea, and Marrakech, Morocco. Liz has worked in a variety of fields and first came to Marrakech as an English teacher. She finds the variety and opportunities of running Café du Livre, a Marrakech ex-pat hub, enthralling.Café du Livre, discretely tucked away through the archway of Hotel Toulousain, behind the new Carre Eden shopping center at 44 Rue Tarik Ben Ziad in Marrakech’s Gueliz, is a place where tourists, expatriates, and Moroccans relax and hang out over coffee and a book in the café’s library, or enjoy a light lunch or substantial dinner with inventive continental cuisine, excellent wines and draught beer. Liz Giles Dhamani and her husband Youness are busily renovating the café’s interior and planning a host of new events. If there were a prize for the most economical use of space for varied events Cafédu Livre would surely win it. While one complaint voiced in Trip Advisor articles concerned cigarette smoke, air conditioners and opened windows have largely fixed this.The Cafédu Livre quiz night is already a firm favorite for expats and a great social gathering. There’s an annual expat event in September and members of Marrakech’s British community are regular visitors. Live TV sessions with a big screen for the World Cup were hugely popular. Occasional film nights are also becoming a feature though Liz is careful to balance these with the café’s regular clientele. The British film “The Patrol”about Afghanistan, filmed in the Agafay desert outside Marrakech was shown recently at Cafédu Livre. (There is another screening planned for September or October.) Also popular is a scavenger treasure hunt with the Marrakech Urban Adventures team. Children can participate in the next scavenger hunt in October. Other events include wine tastings, book readings, live music on Friday and Saturday night, and exhibitions of local photographs. The English-speaking community in Marrakech is growing and Cafédu Livre is providing a home away from home where friends can meet and make new acquaintances. More Moroccans drop into Cafédu Livre daily, and Liz notes that the use of English and the demand for English teaching has increased dramatically in Marrakech, so that it is far more widely spoken. Even taxi drivers are beginning to speak English to the pleasant surprise of tourists.Liz has worked as a teacher at the American School of Marrakech, so she is well versed in the English language teaching scene. The Francophone culture has its own special attributes, but tends to be impenetrable for many English speakers, so the establishment of an English speaking venue is especially welcome for expats and Moroccans alike. The English speaking community is  growing; it may be as many as 800 now, Liz reckons. Next year will see the opening of a new English-based syllabus university in Targa, and the British Council will also be opening an office in Marrakech.Books have always been an important part of Cafédu Livre and the absence of English language books for sale in Marrakech makes the Café’s library a godsend for English book-starved expats. Liz sources books from Casablanca and those leaving Marrakech are happy to pass books on to the café’s library so that books rotate frequently. The lack of an English cultural magazine for Marrakech is also keenly felt. Hopefully, as the English-speaking community grows, an English language magazine either in print or online will see the light of day. Some have been launched only to fail. On the other hand, Marrakech features regularly in the New York Times and other international publications and the travel press. There are also several informative blogs writing on Marrakech so it should be possible to develop an English language magazine for Marrakech in the future. The Achilles heel is the difficulty in obtaining advertising support, but as the market grows and more English speaking tourists arrive that difficulty may be overcome.As the newly redecorated Café du Livre opens, we can be sure that it will continue to be a vibrant meeting place and a launch pad for great new events and projects for the English-speaking community in Marrakech.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *