Egypt // Alexandria, the Mediterranean coast and the Delta //

The Ambron Villa

Aficionados of Lawrence Durrell may wish to track down his last Alexandrian residence, in the suburb of Moharrem Bey, to the east of the Karmous quarter. Once home to Alexandria’s mercantile elite, Moharrem Bey’s mansions have become slums since the 1950s, but you can still see the Ambron Villa where Durrell and his muse Eve Cohen rented the top floor in 1943–44; Prospero’s Cell and The Dark Labyrinth were written in the corner tower. Though it’s now a listed building, the villa has been allowed to decay and developers have built flats in the garden where the painter Gilda Ambron shared a studio with their neighbour, Clea Badaro, who inspired the character Cleo in The Alexandria Quartet. As the villa can’t be entered, only hardcore fans will find it worth the expense of a taxi (£E20). Get someone to write the address (19 Sharia al-Ma’amoun) in Arabic to show to the driver.

20% off ebooks

Subscribe to the Rough Guides newsletter and get 20% off any ebook.

Join over 50,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month.