• Tangier is not the prettiest city in the world, but it's one of the coolest. Pinched between two great seas, it sits as if almost sliding down the hill of Africa into the water, on the edge of the world. A first visit to Tangier can often leave a bittersweet taste. Yet this port city has something that captivates visitors, making them return. It has an energy that is hard to describe yet Bohemians such as Eugène Delacroix, American composer and poet Paul Bowles and Henri Matisse all succumbed to the city’s charms. The perfect place for a relaxed long weekend, people don't go to Tangier, they drift there...

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    Places to stay:
    Aux Trois Portes
    sits atop the cliff facing Spain. Designed by Jean Louis Ricardi - a brilliant decorator and former assistant of the renowned Madeleine Castaing - it has gardens with shady corners and grottos, living rooms of an Uncle Vania-style house, and beautiful rooms where it feels like a Duchess from Marcel Proust has just had a triste with a George Simenon spy. It's a reminder of the close relationship between interiors and garden. www.aux3portes.com

    La Maison de Tanger is a genuine haven of peace and tranquillity in an exceptional setting, located in the heart of the city, five minutes from the famous Grand Socco square. Vast and filled with light, the house and its rooms are magical, with its garden and swimming pool, and rooftop with views of the city and the bay. You are sure to fall under the charms of its neo-Moroccan style and architecture inspired by the 1930s. Since the summer of 2021, Alex Henry Foster and Jeff Beaulieu have become the new owners. www.lamaisondetanger.com

    Mimi Calpe was built in the 1860s by French and British architects. It was the vacation home of an influential Jewish family from Tangier, who lived in the residential district of Marshan. The house was the scene of remarkable receptions for the elite of Europe and Morocco. Particularly well preserved, as far as its original architecture is concerned, it is surrounded by a century-old garden. It is part of the historical heritage of Tangier and was given a second life with a recent renovation. www.mimicalpe.com

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    Where to Eat:
    Café Hafa, a hundred-year-old cafe, is an experience that you indulge. Comprising several terraces with magnificent views of the Strait, the café has a bohemian atmosphere, which groups and figures from the world of music and literature have had a hand in creating, such as the Rolling Stones, Spanish poet Juan Goytisolo and Paul Bowles. Its whitewashed walls, with an arresting touch of indigo, are the perfect backdrop. Although when it was founded in 1921 it was intended as a local neighbourhood bar in the Marchane district, it soon became one of the most in-demand places.

    Le Saveur de Poisson, is a basic local tavern located next to Hotel Minzah, which may look a "no go" place, but the fish soup is exquisite making it a "must go". Address: 2 Escalier Waller, Tangier

    Casa de Italia, is set in the Palais des Institutions Italiennes building that once belonged to a Sultan and is now owned by the Italian government. It’s like entering a 1960's Italian pizzeria, particularly because it's frequented by all the foreigners who live in Tangier.

    After dinner, especially if you are a little drunk, take a stroll down the beach promenade, which used to be called Avenue d'Espagne, now Avenue Mohammed VI. More or less in front of the Marina Bay, you will find a van that sells snail soup. Seasoned with garlic and thyme, served in ceramic bowls, the little snails are delicious and dispel hangovers. After a couple of servings, you'll be ready for a dip in the icy waters of the bay just across the road.

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    Places to visit:
    One of the most beautiful places in Tangier is the Kasbah, the name given to the fortified complex situated on one of the city’s hills. This area in the highest part of the medina, loved by locals and visitors alike, is composed of a higgledy-piggledy maze of narrow streets that are home to small squares, workshops, and one of the best viewpoints above the city walls. Not only should you wander around at your leisure but also pinpoint places of interest such as the former Dar-el-Makhzen (or the Sultanate) palace, which dates from the seventeenth century and houses a museum that is well worth a visit. Inside you can admire architecture typical of a palace from the time as well as the archaeological remains of Roman cities such as Volubilis and Moroccan crafts.

    The Medina, a working-class neighbourhood, which spreads out around 9 April 1947 Square is the city’s historic centre and, as such, is very lively during the day. As with all Arabian urban layouts, the narrow streets do not follow a strict plan, and shops and street vendors are constant features.

    The perfect day trip from Tangier is Chefchaouen known as the blue city, because of the striking, blue-washed buildings of its old town. Leather and weaving workshops line its steep cobbled lanes. In the shady main square of Place Outa el Hammam is the red-walled Kasbah, a 15th-century fortress and dungeon, and Chefchouen Ethnographic Museum. The octagonal minaret of the Great Mosque rises nearby over the city.

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