An American Abroad

Sidi Bou Saïd: Around Town, Part 1

After touring the Dar El Annabi, I went walking around the town. In 1912, an eccentric French painter and musicologist, Baron Rodolphe d’Erlanger, built an enormous Moorish villa in town and then compelled the town to adopt a by-law mandating that all houses be painted blue and white. The result is either charming or a bit de trop, depending on one’s point of view. The town presents dozens of picture-perfect scenes, but it’s also a tourist trap where the souk sells the same t-shirts and mass-produced ceramics that can be bought elsewhere in Tunisia. Even so, Sidi Bou is well worth the trip.

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