Top ChoiceFrench in Cotonou


Considered by some connoisseurs to be one of the most refined restaurants in town, with excellent French and fusion cuisine, and an ambience that's as optimal for business lunches as it is for a romantic evening...

Top ChoiceFrench in Cotonou

Chez Clarisse

This small French restaurant, in a pretty residential area next to the US embassy, is a perennial favourite that churns out excellent French and local specialties, such as fish with moyo sauce, as well as...

Top ChoiceBar in Cotonou

Le Livingstone

One of the most atmospheric spots for a drink is the terrace of this pub in Haie Vive, which serves as one of the biggest expat hangouts in town.

Top ChoiceBeninese in Cotonou

Maman Aimé

This is a super atmospheric Beninese maquis (rustic open-air restaurant) with little more than a few wooden benches and tables under a corrugated iron roof. Here you'll get a blob of pâte (starch staple, often...

Market in Cotonou

Grand Marché de Dantokpa

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,...

Gallery 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...

Church 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...

Market 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...

African in Cotonou

Chez Maman Bénin

This long-standing no-frills canteen off Blvd St Michel has a large selection of West African dishes scooped from steaming pots. There's no decor except for a couple of blaring TVs showing the latest football...

Bar in Cotonou

Jammin Bar

This hip, convivial bar with an open-air terrace is a great spot to swill a beer or two before hitting the clubs. The crowd ranges from expats to well-heeled locals. Also serves good food.

French in Cotonou

Les Trois Mousquetaires

This fine establishment serves delicate French cuisine and features an extensive wine list. The old colonial dining room is the perfect setting for a sophisticated evening.

Live Music in Cotonou


This cool den hosts gigs from local bands, with an emphasis on jazz, rock and blues, but really, anything goes here. There's no cover charge.

Live Music in Cotonou

Yes Papa

This venture is famed for the quality of its live-music sessions featuring reggae, jazz and African sounds. Near Pl de l'Étoile Rouge.

Books in Cotonou

Librairie Notre-Dame

This bookshop is next to the cathedral, and has an excellent selection of books on Benin (in French) and maps of Cotonou and Benin.

Live Music in Cotonou

Le Repaire de Bacchus

Le Repaire de Bacchus has live jazz on Thursdays from 10.30pm, and music such as rumba and Ivorian sounds on Fridays and Saturdays.

Books in Cotonou


A smart bookshop which stocks the latest periodicals, maps and some photography books on West Africa.

African in Cotonou

Maquis du Port

Great-value local food. More an upmarket African eatery than a maquis, this hugely popular venture serves a good mix of local classics such as ndole (a stew made of leaves and nuts), salads, braised fish and meat...

African in Cotonou

Chez Léa

Fill up on poulet moyo at this crazily popular lunch joint set up under an awning and corrugated iron roof. Plates are piled high with chicken, aloko (fried plantain), fries, rice, peas and salad. Perfect for...