Tangier, Morocco


The British post office in Tangier, which also was home to Spanish and French post offices, dates from 1898. This quote, a remembrance circa 1950, pays homage to it in a lovely way:

“To have known Tangier under the Condominium with its French and Spanish sectors, its British post office, its Moroccan souks and brothels and Berber vegetable markets, its atmosphere of fiscal, sexual and political freedom, its easy society and douceur de vivre – based on excellent servants – was one of the charms of the old Europe. The Arab medina was one of the loveliest of medieval towns, to which the confluence of Atlantic and Mediterranean climate lent a permanent seduction…

“In spring the breeze sang in the palm trees of the Villa de France, the rain dripped in the eucalyptus woods by the Glaoui’s palace, clouds formed over the Rîf or sun sparkled on the great yellow dune by the Punta de Tarifa; flowers covered the green downs by the airport road to Tetuan, Atlantic breakers shimmered along the Larache beaches. In the town were French restaurants like the Pavilion and pâtisseries, English groceries, cafés with Arab music, American bars with good sandwiches and rye… all-night bars like the desultory Mar Chico, ultimate station of the lost, with its atmosphere of the Spanish Foreign Legion. And the British stronghold – Dean’s Bar. ‘Dean’ was a dark-coloured Egyptian said to be the offspring of an English lady and her dragoman. He had beautiful manners and an Oxford accent of the old school…

“How pleasant it was to sit in his bar of a morning and read the papers or one’s mail, fresh from the British Post Office across the way, while some of the older residents dropped in, sent out their invitations or discussed the previous evening.”

— Cyril Connolly in a preface to Robin Maugham’s The Wrong People (1970)


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