Filled to the brim with French colonial charm, Grand-Bassam is a town within the Lagunes region of Côte d'Ivoire. It was the capital city of the French colonies in the region from 1893 until 1896, until the administration was transferred to Bingerville after a severe bout of yellow fever. The city's inhabitants recovered, and it remained a key seaport until the growth of Abidjan from the 1930s, which crushed its golden era. By independence in 1960, Grand-Bassam was little more than a ghost town, until a surge of tourism in the 1970s led to its resettlement. Today, a modest 5,000 people call the town their home, although some areas still remain largely abandoned.

Get in

Grand-Bassam is 45km east of Abidjan and will take about 45 minutes by road.

Bush taxis from the Gare de Bassam in Abidjan are the best option, and will cost about CFA 500. Buses are an alternative, which leave from Gare Routière d'Adjamé in Abidjan for CFA 500.

Grand-Bassam's   gare routière (bus station) is in the centre of town, just beside the Place de Paix roundabout.

Get around

The town is largely divided into two distinct halves. On the south side of the Ébrié Lagoon is Ancien Bassam, the old French town where most of the colonial buildings and attractions are located. Nouveau Bassam lies to the north of the lagoon, and grew out of the old servant quarters to become the main business centre. The two are connected by a small bridge.

The main area of town is quite compact, so walking is an easy way of getting around. If you feel like venturing further, you will need to organise a bush taxi.


An old French colonial building in Ancien Bassam



Maison des Artistes

The   central market (Marché) is located right next to the Place de Paix roundabout. It mostly serves produce, but you may be able to find a souvenir or two. A much better option is the hundreds of   artisan stalls that thrive on the western edge of town, lining the road from Abidjan. Local art is also for sale in Maison des Artistes, described in the See section.


There are some options to eat in and around the central market as described above, as well as the eateries within the hotels. A more interesting alternative is the   "marquis" restaurants along the northern, lagoon edge of Ancien Bassam, which serve local and traditional African cuisine. The cost is cheap, hovering between CFA 1900 and 2300.


Most hotels and even some restaurants have their own bars that are popular with locals on the weekdays and holidaymakers from Abidjan on the weekend. There are a couple of nightclubs in the north of the town including:


A resort-style hotel, common throughout the town.


There is a   Cyber Cafe on the eastern side of the Place de Paix roundabout. Many of the larger hotels have free Wi-Fi.

Go next

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