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The Cinema Rif in Tangier

The Cinema Rif originally opened in 1938. It is in the Grand Socco, just outside the walls of the medina. It is a restored art deco building. The cinema shows mainstream and indie films from America, Morocco, France and Spain. The foreign films have subtitles usually in French and/or Arabic.

Owned and managed today as Cinematheque Tanger it was restored as an arts complex. It is a hub for young people, playwrights, photographers, artists, musicians, and filmmakers.

It contains two studios, two cinemas, and a bar that serves alcohol, tea, and coffee. Outside there are some tables for tea and coffee service. No alcohol is allowed outside.

Today Cinémathèque de Tanger holds more than 130 collected movies on both argentic and digitals, 37 archive donators, more than 1,200 referenced documents, a collection of 16mm, 8mm and Super 8 amateur films in its archive.

Every month they issue a newspaper with the film schedule and special events. Since we arrived, they have had an Alfred Hitchcock festival, Casblanca anniversary, films featuring Bette Davis and now a cycle with Meryl Streep.

Movies generally cost 2.50 and you can get a card stamped for a free movie after you have been 10 times.


Casablanca was free and free popcorn was available to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the film.

Although the films are older, we are enjoying seeing them, usually for the first time. The ones that we have seen were certainly not on a big screen and it is interesting to note the changes in formatting, development, special effects and film techniques. The excitement of the Grand Socco, the history of the art deco building, the comfort of the theater and excitement of the cinema makes this a nice and inexpensive night out.

The New Tanja Marina Bay

The new Tanja Marina Bay opened in early June when the King came to inaugurate the property. It’s magnificent! Although only a handful of restaurants, bars and shops are currently, open. There is work ongoing to open even more.

Tanja Marina Bay
Tanja Marina Bay

Tanja Marina Bay
Tanja Marina Bay

Tanja Marina Bay
Tanja Marina Bay

It’s a nice walk out over the water. Luxury boats line the pier on one side, behind them rises the old medina. From the other side there is a fabulous view of the beach and modern Tangier.

We went early one morning for a walk and breakfast. Venezia Ice has a large restaurant at the very end. We found a table outside by the water and had a fantastic breakfast for less than $10. People were already staking out there spots at the beach and by the time we left, it was getting full.


There are 1400 berths for boats and a yacht club. The marina will cater to professionals and amateur of yachting as well as all types of vacationers and locals. The marina will provide numerous relaxation areas with cafés, cinemas, a convention centre and numerous public spaces distributed throughout the area.

Along the beach side there is the Port de Plaiseur that is teaming with people at all times of the day. Underneath are more shops, bars and clubs, although many of them have not opened yet.


There seems to be something for everyone here and I can’t wait to see how it develops. It’s a beautiful entryway into a beautiful city and country. I can see myself spending a lot of time here year round.

The Gran Cafe de Paris-Tangier, Morocco

The Gran Café de Paris stands on a busy roundabout looking a little forlorn.  It’s a place that I frequent often and a piece of Tangier’s bohemian history.  You can’t beat the outside tables for people watching.


It is located across from the elegant French Consulate facing the Place de France.  The cafe opened in 1927.  It was one of the first buildings outside the old Medina.  It also has a part in the film, The Bourne Ultimatum.

French Consulate, Tangier
French Consulate, Tangier

French Consulate Tangier
French Consulate Tangier

In the past, Tangier’s famous literati such as Paul Bowles and William Burroughs hung out here.  Secret agents and spies listened to conversations around the room in the colorful past of Tangier’s International period, which started in 1923 and lasted until 1952.  I sit there often and inhale the genius of the past, along with the cigarette smoke.  It is okay to smoke in the café as in most places in Tangier.

The inside of the café has leather and wooden chairs and wood-paneled walls.  There are lots of mirrors, astrological signs, and clocks with times from around the world.  It’s very reminiscent of the “boys clubs” but a bit of wear and tear to make it interesting.  The waiters are dressed in red jackets and are cordial, stately, speak several languages, and always welcoming.


The Gran Café de Paris opens at 6:30 a.m. every morning and closes at 11 p.m.  They have wonderful Moroccan Mint tea, Café au lait, and some simple food items at reasonable prices.  Don’t be surprised at the number of men occupying the tables.  The café culture in Morocco is full of men, but they won’t mind a woman’s presence at all.

The Grand Socco-Place de Avril 9-Tangier

The Grand Socco connects old Tangier with the Ville Nouvelle or new city of Tangier. Formally known as Place de Avril 9, Grand Socco is the Spanish name coming from the Arabic word souk. Taxi drivers will know it by its name in Darija which is Souk Barre.

The formal name of Place de Avril 9, was given to the location because it was the site of King Mohammed V’s speech supporting Moroccan independence in 1947.

The Grand Socco is always busy but comes alive at night when vendors bring used items, as well as fruits, nuts, cigarettes, and spices into the square for selling. The palm filled square hosts a spectacular fountain in its center, which so far I’ve not seen filled with water.

Cinema Rif
Cinema Rif

In the Grand Socco, there are several other prominent sites such as the Cinema Rif, the Sidi Bou Abib Mosque dating from 1917. The courthouse with a banyan tree said to be over 800 years old is located there and the romantic, keyhole gate called Bab Fass into the Medina.


There are park benches for sitting and watching the world go by and you can always get a taxi in this location. There are many outside cafes around the area for sitting and drinking tea or having something to eat.

Just off the Grand Socco, you will find St. Andrews Anglican Church, the Medina, The Roman Tombs, Café Hafa, and up the hill, Café Paris and the new city center. The Mendoubia Gardens is within walking distance and is a nice place for a picnic.

Just up the street that runs to the left of the mosque as you are facing it is a farmer’s market on Thursday and Sunday. Farmers line the street with vegetables and fruits and the women wear the colorful straw hats and long skirts of the countryside.

Roman Tombs Archeological Site, Tangier

On a cliff in Marshan, there is a plateau overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. There you can see the Punic-Roman tombs. The site is about 450 meters from the Kasbah and not too far from the king’s summer palace.

Roman Tombs, Tangier
Roman Tombs, Tangier

Marked only by this sign and the columns that frame the view to the sea, you will find visitors sitting on the rocks, taking photos and enjoying the sea breezes that waft overhead.
Roman Tombs, Tangier
Roman Tombs, Tangier

Most of the graves face the sea and from their location, you can discern the old gates of Tangier on the west side. Ninety-eight graves were exhumed in 1910 with fifty being found as late as 1960. Today only about two dozen of them can be seen at this location. They are in the shape of a box engraved into the stone.
Roman Tombs, Tangier
Roman Tombs, Tangier

Punic and neo-Punic artifacts dating back to the first century B.C. were found at this location. Today they are contained in the exhibit at the Kasbah Museum. There is a small sarcophagus, the size used for a child, an urn, a small broken glass vase and an incense burner.
Cafe Hafa
Cafe Hafa

This is a great place to visit before taking the walk further down the Hafa cliff to Café Hafa for tea and Baysar!
Cafe Hafa
Cafe Hafa

La Giralda Cafe in Tangier

It didn’t take long to identify La Giralda as one of those “go to” places for eating and drinking.  There are many reasons it gets high marks.  The incredible view is one of the main ones.

La Giralda is located on rue de Pasteur directly overlooking the Terrasse de Paresseux.  The large windows open to let in the nice breezes and the cigarette smoke out, gaze on a postcard like vista of palm trees, terraced gardens, and the sea.

Terrasse de Paresseux
Terrasse de Paresseux
View from Terrasse de Paresseux
View from Terrasse de Paresseux
Terrasse de Paresseux
Terrasse de Paresseux

The dining room is sumptuously decorated with a beautifully carved ceiling, tapestried curtains, upholstered seats, and columns.  You will feel like you are in a place much more expensive than what you will pay for the pleasure of tea, coffee, breakfast or a light lunch here.

Dining room of Cafe La Giralda
Dining room of Cafe La Giralda
Dining room of Cafe La Giralda
Dining room of Cafe La Giralda

The menu is made of up an assortment of breakfast items, crepes (both sweet and savory) and some sandwiches.  Tea, coffee, and juices are offered for beverages.  You can eat a large brunch for two for less than 10 euro.

I like to order omelets with cheese and mushrooms, toast and coffee.  The plate is always decorated with some cucumbers, tomatoes, and olives.  Fresh squeezed orange juice accompanies most orders.  There are some Moroccan specialties on the breakfast menu such as dried beef with eggs that you should definitely consider.

Brunch at Cafe La Giralda
Brunch at Cafe La Giralda

All types of juice drinks are popular in Morocco.  You can usually order whatever combination you like depending on what is in season.  For example orange and banana, banana and strawberries, or my favorite, milk, and avocado are all good choices.  It sounds peculiar but it’s absolutely delicious.

With the cooler weather, this is the perfect spot for Sunday brunch and we take advantage of it often.  The service is splendid and I assure you that you won’t be disappointed on any front.  I’ll take you here when you visit Tangier.

Cafe Hafa-Historic Cafe in Tangier

Cafe Hafa is a magical place located on the cliffs of Tangier overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. We like to go there at almost any time of day, but particularly for lunch. Sunset is a very popular time, so if you decide to go there then, go at least an hour before sunset and earlier if it is on a weekend. Cafe Hafa is a popular place for locals as well as tourists.

They serve mint tea all day and in tall glasses with lots of fresh mint and sugar. We order Fava Bean soup, which comes with a loaf of crusty bread and a bowl of olives. Spicy harissa is on the side for those who like a little heat. Dip the crusty bread in the thick soup and feel the comfort of simple food in an enchanted place.

Lunch at Cafe Hafa
Lunch at Cafe Hafa

The café opened in 1921 and after almost 100 years of existence, it is a landmark place to visit in Tangier. It is characteristically styled with mosaic tables and a tiered whitewashed terrace that cascades down to the sea. Everyone can see the glorious views. Trees and flowering shrubs grow throughout the terraced space giving shade, privacy, and a tropical feel.
The terrace at Cafe Hafa
The terrace at Cafe Hafa

Cruise ships, freighters, fishing boats and sailors all pass by this busy canal on their way to someplace exotic. The coast of Spain is visible on a clear day, and ferries shuttle visitors and workers back and forth hourly.

An inspiration for artists of all types, this café was a hangout for Paul and Jane Bowles, William S. Burroughs, The Beatles, Jami Hendrix, Sean Connery, and The Rolling Stones.

The view from Cafe Hafa
The view from Cafe Hafa

Café Hafa is not easy to find, but hop in any petite taxi and say “Café Hafa, Marshan” and they will take you there. Once you exit the taxi, look for the small alley sized street where people are exiting and walk down it. You will find Café Hafa marked with a white arch, seaside. Enjoy!
The view from Cafe Hafa
The view from Cafe Hafa

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