Grand Socco All the medina’s crooked streets converge on this busy cafe-lined square, buzzing with traffic. If you get lost, the Grand Mosque’s towering minaret is a reference point. Petit Socco Get inspiration for your novel at the Tingis or Central cafes in the square where the Tangier’s literati meet for a chinwag. The American Legation Museum An elegant mansion tucked into the medina walls, gifted to the US by the Sultan. Check out Cecil Beaton’s medina watercolours, Malcolm Forbes’ collection of toy soldiers and the Paul Bowles Room for mementos of Tangier’s glory days.
Kasbah Museum Housed in the old Sultan’s Palace, don’t miss the mosaic from the Roman city of Volubilis and a stroll through the gorgeous royal gardens.
2. THE MEDINA A psychedelic trip through spicescented souks and gaudy bazaars crammed with livestock, ceramics, carpets and jewel-coloured fruit. Haggle for camel leather bags sold from cubicles smaller than your downstairs loo and give yourself up to the colour and chaos.
Mendoubia Gardens Take a pause in this lush park opposite Grand Socco and watch the action from the shade of its 800-year-old banyan tree.
Cafe Baba It doesn’t look like anyplace you’d catch Kofi Anan or the King of Sweden drinking mint tea but the photographs of former celebrity clients on the sky blue paint-peeling walls don’t lie. The current owner served Rolling Stone Keith Richards and knows all about Woolworths heiress Barbara Hutton’s wild rooftop parties next door, and how the Kasbah gates had to be widened to accommodate her green Rolls Royce.
3. THE KASBAH The walled citadel at the medina’s pinnacle is a hike but you’ll find new riads and restaurants en route offering menu du jour. Think spicy harira soup, couscous, tagine, chicken and almond pastelas and syrupy pastries. Look out for the house numbered ‘0’ – Dar Zero was 17th century London diarist Samuel Pepy’s old pad. Beat Generation’s icon William Boroughs owned the dar next door.
WORDS: BELINDA BECKETT;
Published on Apr 23, 2015