Little Black Book

A Piece of Paradise on Africa’s Northern Coast

by Leigh Millard
An An orange tree outside a home in Sidi Bou Said. All photos by Leigh Millard.

DARA Artisans is one of our trusted resources for beautifully designed, responsibly handcrafted home goods made by artists around the world. On a recent buying trip to Tunisia, director of sourcing and artisan relations, Leigh Millard, fell in love with Sidi Bou Said, a dreamy blue and white village just thirty minutes outside the country's capital.

SIDI BOU SAID, Tunisia – I recently visited one of the most gorgeous places I have ever had the pleasure of laying eyes on. A blue and white dream studded with pops of yellow and orange — fragrant citrus trees that dot the streets. To me, it felt like a tiny Greek island, which isn't too far from the truth.

Perched on a cliff high above the Mediterranean, Tunisia's Sidi Bou Said is a historic treasure that has attracted artists and globetrotters for centuries. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the town is a maze of immaculately kept white walls, vivid blue doorways, and breathtaking views. Bougainvillea and honeysuckle creep from courtyards, where colorful tiled fountains bubble peacefully. Explore its streets and alleys on foot, day or night — but do not, under any circumstances, forget to bring your camera.

The ancient city of Carthage and Bougainvillea in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

Left: Ruins in Carthage. Right: A bougainvillea-covered doorway.


Take a jaunt down the hill to the ancient city of Carthage, which features some of the loveliest and best-preserved Roman ruins to date. A $5 day ticket will grant you entry to several sites spread over a few miles; taxis are inexpensive and it's worthwhile to hire one to take you around. Not to be missed are the Roman baths, which are surrounded by lush gardens that open up to a gorgeous sea view.


Make a reservation at Dar Zarrouk for traditional Tunisian fare — lots of fresh seafood, vegetables, bread, and harissa, a red pepper sauce that is served with nearly every meal. Whether you're in the charming courtyard or seated by an unbeatable ocean view, you will have a lovely time.

Souvenirs in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

A local souvenir shop.


Souvenir shops have a dazzling array of colorful textiles and ceramics, which can be yours after some good-natured haggling. It's also worth checking out the contemporary art galleries. Le Violon Bleu and A. Gorgi were two of my favorites.


Hotel Dar Said and La Villa Bleue are two of the village's most charming boutique hotels. 


To shop beautifully designed, handcrafted goods from around the world, visit Dara Artisans.


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