by Céline Crespy
Even if it is very close to the capital city of Tunisia, Sidi Bou Said is very different from Tunis. A little escapade to this picturesque village is enough to forget the slam-bang atmosphere of downtown Tunis. Take the famous and cheap TGM train that connects the capital city to its main suburbs (TGM stands for Tunis – Goulette – Marsa) and get off at Sidi Bou Said for a wonderful trip by the Mediterranean Sea.
It is very easy to get to Sidi Bou from the major tourist places of northern Tunisia like Hammamet or Nabeul. Yet, there are hardly any accommodation opportunities in the village and the few ones you can find are very
expensive so you’d better come for a daily trip. One day is enough to stroll in the little coast town that is said to be the ‘white and blue village’ because of its white walls and blue doors and windows.
Sidi Bou Said used to be an artisanal fishing port that turnt very quickly to an artist place then to a tourist attraction. The main street is full of small shops and bazaars so do not hesitate to walk into the narrow streets and meet craftsmen. If you buy something, keep in mind that bargainning is very commonplace in Tunisia and do not hesitate to ask for lower prices. Once you manage to get carpets, copper plates or any other goods from local craft industry, enjoy a traditional glass (not cup!) of tea at the famous Café des Nattes or at the quieter Chabaane Sidi. Have a seat at the terrace and contemplate the bay, which is one of the most famous postcard landscapes of all the country. Lucky you if you can be here for the sunset but the panorama is wonderful at any time. You can also stop at Au bon vieux Temps restaurant and taste the best of Tunisian cuisine including harira soup, meshuia salad and fish couscous. Do not miss some of the best donuts coated with sugar and cumin. On your way back, stop by the sandy beach of Gammarth or visit the ancient ruins of Carthage. In any case, do not forget that Sidi Bou is a haven not only for artists but also for gourmets !