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.
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.