New Town, Tunis
The central axis of the new town of Tunis between the Medina and the Harbor which was developed during the period of French occupation is Avenue Habib Bourguiba. This magnificent avenue, planted with palms and eucalyptus trees, heads eastward in a dead straight line from Place de l'Indépendance, just outside the old town, towards the harbor, where it joins the expressway which crosses the Lake of Tunis on the causeway to La Goulette. On the harbor is the TGM station (services to the northeastern suburbs of La Goulette, Carthage, Sidi Bou Said and La Marsa).
Hotel du Lac
On the right-hand side of the Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis (from Place d'Afrique) is the eye-catching ultra-modern Hotel du Lac, in the form of an inverted pyramid. Immediately in front of the hotel can be found the tourist information office (ONTT, Office National du Tourisme Tunisien). Going east along Avenue Habib Bourguiba in the direction of the Medina, we pass the Ministry of the Interior (on left), readily recognizable by the barriers in front of the building and the strong police presence, and a series of shops, banks, cafés, travel agencies, restaurants, night spots and hotels, including the 21-storey tower block of the Hotel Africa (1967-70).
Bab el Bahr & Porte de France
On the far side of the Place de l'Indépendance in Tunis is the narrower Avenue de France, which ends at the entrance to the Medina, the Bab el Bahr (Sea Gate), formerly called the Porte de France, which has remained unchanged since its erection in 1848. The old town walls of the Hafsid period have disappeared. Before entering the Medina it is worth while looking briefly along Rue Charles de Gaulle to the left.
Cathedral of St-Vincent-de-Paul
Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis runs into Place de l'Indépendance, at the north end of which is the Cathedral of St-Vincent-de-Paul (1882), whose massive neo-Romanesque facade seems out of place at the gates of the Oriental old town. The Cathedral is the largest surviving building of the colonial period in Tunis. It contains the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Half way along Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis, at the intersection with the palm-shaded Avenue Mohammed V, which runs north to the Parc du Belvédère, is Place d'Afrique, with a clock monument symbolizing the "post-Bourguiba era" on a site previously occupied by an equestrian statue of President Bourguiba. This is a good starting-point for a tour of the town.
Avenue de Paris
Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis bisects Avenue de Paris, which runs north, lined by modern shops, into Avenue de la Liberté and so to the Parc du Belvédère, and Avenue de Carthage, which runs south, passing the railroad station in Place Barcelone, to the Djellaz cemetery.
Opposite the Cathedral in Tunis is the French Embassy, formerly the seat of the French Resident-General. Between these two relics of the French colonial presence in Tunisia can be seen a statue of Tunis's most celebrated citizen, Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406).
The showrooms of ONAT (Organization Nationale de l'Artisanat Tunisien) in Tunis, display a wide range of Tunisian craft products for sale. Here too are three popular Tunis rendezvous, the Cafe de Paris, Cafe de Tunis and Brasserie Tunisia International.
In the Rue Charles de Gaulle in Tunis is the Head Post Office, an imposing colonial building, which also houses the Stamp Museum (Musée des Timbres), an interesting collection of stamps and postal equipment (entrance in Rue Gamal Abdel Nasser; same opening hours as the post office).
Fondouk el Ghalla
At the intersection of the Rue Charles de Gaulle in Tunis with Rue d'Allemagne is the Fondouk el Ghalla, a large colonial-style market hall, where a lively and colorful foodstuffs market is held in the morning.
Just beyond the showrooms of ONAT in Tunis is the Municipal Theater, with a striking Art Nouveau facade.
New Town Pictures
Map of Tunis Attractions