«When a stranger comes to La Marsa, everything tells him he is coming closer to the home of some Oriental sovereign. There is much animation around the palace :coaches of noble people, pulled by pricy horses or mules, driven by black people in oriental livery, officers, generals on horseback, servants of the prince, Moors in full regalia ; European consuls in their cars, foreigners, travelers, caravans of Arabs, Maltese, Jews ; or camels, muleters and teams of all kinds, who comes and go from Tunis to La Marsa.»

Notice sur la Régence de Tunis – Henri Dunant – 1858

Considered by many Tunisians as the smartest city in the vicinity of Tunis, La Marsa kept its character of rich suburb and stays a seaside town much appreciated by the inhabitants of Tunis.

La Marsa, Tunisian seaside town

From the beginning of the XIXth century, the beys of Tunis have had numerous palaces built where they settle down from May till September: Mohammed Bey had Dar El Tej built in 1855 before his successor began the construction of a house overlooking the beach, the Kobet El Haoua, intended to shelter the bathing of the ruling family. Other princes have had palaces built in several places of the city besides residences offered to allied families.

The climate added to the landscapes of rocky cliffs, forests of pines and orange groves quickly made it a place much appreciated by dignitaries, scholars,people from the middle-class and artists who followed the ruling family.

Center of the power during the summer period, the city attracted the rich people from Tunis, people from middle-class, ambassadors and consuls who also had luxurious houses built in the Arab-Muslim style along the coast in the direction of Gammarth.

Today, La Marsa kept  this smart suburban character and is the residence of numerous expatriates.

The Saf-Saf, "the world's most beautiful café"

The district of Saf-Saf is the top-place for animation of the city and attracts numerous people fromTunis. The famous café, bearing the same name, has been qualified by the "Le Monde", a french newspaper, of being the world's most beautiful café. It is a mythical place which protects the Tunisian traditions. On the square sits an old public well where the caravanners used to come to cool down and water their animals and where a dromedary sometimes activates the wheel to raise water from the well.

Tunis city

City of Carthage

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