Posted by Ned Bond 31 March 2015
I’m probably not the world’s most erudite art-lover, but admirers of the great French painter Henri Matisse should be delighted to hear of the re-opening in that most magical of North African cities, Tangier, of the stunning Grand Hotel Villa de France where the French artist chose to live and work when he came to Morocco a little over a century ago.
Built in 1880, the hotel became the much-loved watering-hole for an élite of Europeans travelling to the international port of Tangier, and since its opening it has hosted many royals, dignitaries and members of the British aristocracy. It was extended in around 1900, outclassing its two main local competitors, the Hotels Cecil and Continental; indeed the Villa de France only lost its pre-eminent position when the Scottish businessman Lord Bute opened a larger and more sumptuous rival in 1930…
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