Must see attractions in Cotonou

  • Sights in Cotonou

    Grand Marché de Dantokpa

    The seemingly endless Grand Marché du Dantokpa is Cotonou's throbbing heart, bordered by the lagoon and Blvd St Michel. Everything under the sun can be purchased in its labyrinthine lanes, from fish to soap, plastic sandals to goats, pirated DVDs to spare car parts. More traditional fare, such as batiks and Dutch wax cloth, can be found in the market building. The fetish market section is at the northern end of the larger market.

  • Sights in Cotonou

    Fondation Zinsou

    Named after the family that started it, this fantastic exhibition space seeks to promote contemporary African art among Beninese people through photography, paintings and sculptures. The chic boutique sells beautiful art books and the cafe offers wi-fi access. The gallery regularly provides shuttles from schools to the centre in order to promote art appreciation and involvement.

  • Sights in Cotonou

    Cathedral de Notre Dame

    With its vibrant red and white stripes, this Catholic cathedral is not just a place of worship but also home to a small bookshop selling titles by regional writers as well as a handful of academic texts. The stripes continue into the inside with sandstone and cream-coloured arches. Beyond its pretty stripes, it's a quiet and cool escape from the bustle of the city.

  • Sights in Cotonou

    Fetish Market

    This market sells anything associated with voodoo, including varieties of tree barks and dried plants (both used in traditional medicine) and stalwarts for voodoo rites, such as dried animal parts, particularly skins, heads and hoofs (anything from ducks, turtles and horses to dogs and monkeys). Live rats and fish often make an appearance, as does hand-carved wood.

  • Sights in Cotonou

    Centre Culturel Français

    This busy cultural centre has a gallery, an outdoor theatre, a library and a cinema.

  • Sights in Cotonou

    Mosque

    This mosque's two white towers stand out in this city of low-lying structures. It's an interesting place to pause for a few moments for a spot of people-watching and to observe the coming and goings of worshippers. There's no public access inside.

  • Sights in Cotonou

    Fidjirossé Beach

    This pretty stretch of sand is a lovely place to embrace local culture and cool off. It's a favorite spot for Beninese to retreat to with families and is lined with coconut palms and a handful of buvettes for daytime snacking.

  • Sights in Cotonou

    Eglise St Michel

    This pastel pink and green Catholic church is a simple affair, but notable for its exterior (it looks a bit like a pink gingerbread house). The interior is less interesting, but provides a cool respite from the manic city.