Palais du Jasmin is another perfume shop that is a part of Souk el-Attarine, in the medina of Tunis. We had visited a similar shop the day before, so we knew how it worked. But this store did not seem as nice. Apart from buying all kinds of scents and perfumes of a thousand smells different, they also sell essential oils, soaps, and attractive glass jars for decoration. It is one of the few places where you are allowed to pay in euros, and the price is fixed (no haggling allowed).
Walking the Medina we came across a small square where you'll find this small shopping center: The gallery Ben Chorbal. It is a U-shaped building, which are occupied by low trade shops. As for shopping, the truth is that there's not much to say about it has all the usual suspects that you find in any town, and country (carpet, ceramic plates, garments, leather bags and souvenirs). Personally, I was bored seeing the same thing, and yet everyone I saw shopping were loaded with purchases.
The best shop in the whole of Sousse! After completing our tour we became friends of a guide who told us that they would take us to his shop, and of course ... I thought we would get robbed ... but not in the slightest ... His store was the best we found in the whole Medina of Sousse, on the best street, Kaïd Souk Street. Best of all is that most of their products have a fixed price and so you don´t waste so much time trying to haggle and get some bargains. From what we could compare with what we had haggled in Medina the prices were the same or even better after haggling for quite some time. If you value your time, I recommend this store ...
Although carpets are a common topic in any souk, Kairouan is the capital of carpets, as these are its main craft product. The 2 main types of carpets are knotted and woven. The pre-Islamic traditional industry of carpet weaving was based on the fabric of the "mergoums" and "kilims". The first feature cheerful geometric designs and use the contrast between red, purple, blue and other colors. The Berber kilim uses traditional motifs on a white fabric. The "guetiffa" another Berber carpet is knotted, thick hair and is usually ecru with Berber motifs. The best known knotted rugs are classic of Kairouan, of Persian style. This style was introduced in Tunisia by the Turks and its price depends on the number of knots/square meter. To see the manufacturing process without being harassed by vendors, it's best to go to the Centre des Traditions et des Metiers d'Art de Kairouan, created by the government to promote local Tunisian crafts, it's on Rue Jama the Hanafi at the medina entrance. The upstairs rooms demonstrate the traditional techniques of weaving, embroidery and carpet weaving. Also, at Avenue Ali Zouaioui there is a carpet museum (not to be confused with the many shops of the souk which also advertise a tapestry museum).
Sidi Bou Said is a hangout for artists, musicians, poets and writers. Among the many souvenir shops, there are also art galleries, like "The Artist", which is the first turn on the right hand side from the square Sidi Bou Said. Its facade is in tune with the picturesque architecture of the town. The whitewashed houses have doors and balconies that stand out in azure. Admission is free, so I sneaked in to take a look around. It's two storeys, and the top floor has a metal grid that looks onto the floor below. All the walls of the house were filled with oil paintings, other paintings and works of art, which, apart from being on display, are also sold. There is also a jewellery area with mainly silver handmade pieces.
As I have been saying in other reviews, the trip I hired from my hotel, the Abou Nawas Boujaafar, was very complete with a horse ride, camel ride, donkey ride or wagon ride pulled by two horses like in Westerns. Each and every one were held in a private ranch with olive trees and at one of the stops along the tour, we could buy souvenirs at a craft store or watch the traditional hand-worked clay vases being made into different objects or ashtrays. We could also buy food or drinks, and relax on the terrace in the shade before entering the craft store.
Like any self-respecting tourist, you must not miss the typical souvenir shops located between the car park and Bardo mosque. The building comprises a shopping mall, as well as a café and public toilets. This gallery is made up of a dozen stores where you can buy all kinds of souvenirs (T-shirts, refrigerator magnets, key chains, wooden or ceramic camels, thimbles, and even reproductions of mosaics). Prices, of course, are much more expensive than in any medina souks.