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Sidi Bou Saïd
Sidi Bou Saïd, a small town with about 5000 inhabitants, is located on the Tunisian coast, about 20 km from the capital, Tunis. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1915, the first protected site in the world. The very hilly medieval village is only accessible on foot, but the TGM (Tunis-Goulette-Marsa) train takes you to the bottom of the hill. A paying car park is also available. In Roman times, the position of Sidi Bou Saïd, overlooking Carthage and the Bay of Tunis, made it a place of strategic importance. Today, this position, and the views it commands, is a magnet for tourism in the area. The Arabo-Andalusian town itself, with its typically Mediterranean blue and white colours, is an arrangement of cobbled alleyways, the houses displaying ornate doors, intricate moucharabieh (lattice work protecting a window) and blue shutters. Visitors can discover the interior of some of these houses, like Dar El Annabi which is a museum today. The town also has a market and numerous merchants selling leather goods and other objects, and a number of cafés (Café des nattes, Café Sidi Chabâane for instance) and restaurants (like Dar Zarrouk).
The Saint Louis Cathedral in Carthage, now renamed Acropolium, was built between 1884 and 1890 by Cardinal Lavigerie and dedicated to king Louis IX of France (Saint Louis) who died of the plague on the beach in Carthage whilst besieging the city during the eighth crusade. It is built in a Byzantine-Moorish style on a site that was once the Roman Capitol and measures 65 meters by 30. Two square towers frame the facade and a cupola covers the part of the cathedral where the four arms of its Latin cross shape meet. Next to the cathedral is the National Museum of Carthage. It has not been a place of worship since 1964 and its name was changed along with its function in the 1990s. Today, it used for classical concerts and exhibitions, including the Musical October festival. The programme of events can be consulted on the Acropolium's web site.
The Al Abdallia Palace, signposted from the Habib Bourguiba Avenue in La Marsa is situated near the Tunisie Telecom building. Built in the sixteenth century by the Bey of Tunis, it has been restored and is mainly used for temporary exhibitions and concerts. It is possible to visit the palace, accompanied by the guardian. The visit is free, but be prepared to give him a small tip.
Le Golfe restaurant is located in La Marsa, directly on the beach. Here guests can find French and international cuisine as well as a number of fish and seafood specialities : shrimps, clams or urchin landed the same morning. A full meal costs around 40 dinars. The restaurant's decoration is classic in design, with pale colours and uncluttered lines. The wine lists offers both Tunisian and foreign wines. The terrace, looking over the beach, is the setting for occasional jazz concerts. A car park is available for customers.