Dar Ennejma Ezzahra

Sidi Bou Saïd

Built between 1912 and 1922 for French-born Baron Rodolphe d’Erlanger and his Italian-American wife Elizabetta, this palace residence is an exhilarating mix of Modernist architecture and traditional Maghrebi and Andalusian design, filled with virtuoso carved stucco and wooden inlay work, marble floors and columns, ornate furniture and an internationally renowned collection of traditional musical instruments. The magnificent entrance/reception hall with its fountain fed by a long marble water channel and the richly decorated music salon are the undoubted highlights.

The recreated painting studio is filled with the baron’s early-Modern figurative canvases, and his extraordinary collection of musical instruments is exhibited in an upstairs gallery; this collection draws musicologists from around the world. The baron wrote a six-volume work, La Musique Arabe (1930–1959), and he was widely acknowledged as an expert in traditional Arabic music. His estate funds the nearby Centre for Arabic and Mediterranean Music.

A 45-minute audio guide (2DT) offers a tour of the palace, complete with musical soundtrack.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

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