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The Tangier Lifestyle | Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent in Morocco - photo Pierre Berge

Yves Saint Laurent in Morocco – photo Pierre Berge

“We must never confuse elegance with snobbery” – Yves Saint Laurent.

Yves Saint Laurent spent his final years residing in Tangier, Morocco, at Villa Mabrouka (house of luck).  He purchased the Villa in 1992 and worked with interior designer Jacques Grange on its decoration.

According to Grange: “It was based on the house of an eccentric Englishman who moved to Tangier in the 1950s. Yves wanted chintz, with each room a single colour – a blue room, a yellow room. It was like decorating a house for people out of a play by Tennessee Williams.”

Yves Saint Laurent’s bedroom at Villa Mabrouka with Jean-Michel Frank-style furniture designed by Jacques Grange, a 19th-century French wood and beaded glass chandelier and a raw-silk bed cover. Credit François Halard

Yves Saint Laurent’s bedroom at Villa Mabrouka with Jean-Michel Frank-style furniture designed by Jacques Grange, a 19th-century French wood and beaded glass chandelier and a raw-silk bed cover. Credit François Halard

With no art on the walls, or expensive items to show off, Villa Mabrouka, shows it’s elegance through Moroccan style archways and simplicity with a touch of style.  This gave a boundless open feel, much like the feeling of Tangier.

Tangier can be described as a city with excessive elegance, but little snobbery. It is the opposite of snobby: gritty, but elegant at the same time. For this reason, many people seeking peace and inspiration have flocked here over the years. A lot ended up staying.

I experience the feeling every time I visit.  For example, we spend a fair amount of the time sitting at cafes, over looking Europe from Africa.  It’s not at an exclusive country club, but a simple cafe on the street. There will be a man from Europe, a man with no money, and the table next to him will be a millionaire. We all share the same space in Tangier, unlike Marrakech or Rabat.  Nobody is too important, or acts like they are always busy.  We all take time to absorb the peacefulness.

Islamic mosaic within Tangier's medina

Islamic mosaic within Tangier’s medina

Within the city, one will feel the influence of Islamic art and architecture, with a touch of European style. This is unique to Tangier, due to it’s proximity to Europe. Islamic art is based upon balance, color, geometric and floral patterns. Subliminally this has a affect on the mood, bringing one to peace. This can be found in the poorest parts of the medina, or  at the nicest luxury hotels. It is the best of both worlds, present at all levels of society.

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” – Yves Saint Laurent

Local women may not have the latest designer labels, but dress in an elegant local style that fits the lifestyle. Because of the Islamic and European influence on dress, most younger women focus on color and flow, rather than showing skin and labels. Coming from Los Angeles, where labels and celebrity trends rule, Tangier gave me faith there is still elegance in style.  I can imagine why Yves Saint Laurent decided to settle here.  The best dressed across the world, dress according to lifestyle, not the latest fashions.  Tangier lifestyle, is a unique style which “never confuses elegance with snobbery”.

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Villa Josephine | The Villa of the real “Indiana Jones”

Pool for guests of Villa Jospehine

Pool for guests of Villa Josephine

Villa Josephine was built in the 1920s by Walter Burton Harris, the famous columnist for the London Times, who’s life inspired the character “Indiana Jones”. In 1887 he accompanied a British diplomatic mission to Morocco and settled in Tangier at the age of 19.  Fluent in French, Spanish, and Moroccan Arabic, along with looking Moroccan, Harris was able to travel to areas of Morocco unknown to Europeans at the time.  Harris played a large role in the diplomacy of Morocco throughout his life.  Harris also helped promote the modernization of Morocco at the beginning of the 20th century.  He died in 1933 and his body was buried at the Church of Saint Andrews in Tangier.

View of the Strait of Gibraltar

View of the Strait of Gibraltar

Neither Dar or Riad, Villa Josephine’s Mauritian appearance offers balcony views of the Strait of Gibraltar.  With a taste the French Rivera Villa Josephine is a unique guesthouse in Morocco.

Walter Burton Harris

Walter Burton Harris

Following Harris’s residence, it was home to the Duke of Tovar, a Spanish grandee, who after having led a lavish lifestyle, lost all his money in conditions remaining mysterious to this day. Next it was the last summer residence of Glaoui, Pasha of Marrakech. Villa Josephine remains one of the most spectacular and prestigious properties in Tangier.

The "Harris" Bar

The “Harris” Bar

Today Villa Josephine serves as a luxury guest house, with a bar and fine dining restaurant.  It continues it’s tradition of A-list clientele in the 21st century. Villa Josephine’s perfectly manicured gardens and  spectacular swimming pool, offer unparalleled privacy, beauty, and tranquility. The Villa offers 10 rooms, all with a terrace or balcony, and some with a sea view.   Rooms range from about $300-$800 a night. Rooms and dinner reservations can be booked at

Room 105

Room 105

Gardens at Villa Jospehine

Gardens at Villa Josephine

Villa Josephine is located  in Tangier’s most prestigious neighborhood “Vielle Montagne” 10 minutes from Place du Grand Socco and the Kasbah.

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Content is the opinion of TangierTourism ©2017