Tunis is a city of contrasts. Away from the medina are the modern streets of the New Town. It's here that you can see the French influence; the main Avenue Bourgiba looks like it's been lifted straight from the French Riviera with its Neoclassical architecture and little railed squares of green down the central reservation. There are beautiful baskets of flowers hanging from the buildings, and exotic palms give it a real feeling of Cannes. This is the less secular and more European side to the city. The only religious building in the area is the fantastic Catholic cathedral with its colourful mosaics, which has recently been restored to its former glory.
The city's food market on Rue Allemagne is worth a visit, but don't leave it too late -- stallholders start packing up early afternoon. A word of advice here: don't walk through the fish market wearing open sandals!! Look out for the guy selling fresh herbs and whole spices -- he sells his own blend of harissa and it's hot!!
The New Town makes a welcome change from the hot and dingy passageways of the medina, but for shopping and bargains, it has to be the medina every time.