Taking off to Cotonou

The city lies between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Nokoué. Divided by the lagoon, it was split into two banks - linked together by three bridges. This vast town (79 km²) is home to more than 760,000 extremely welcoming inhabitants. Once there, you will find a bustling city with lots of tourist sites that citizens are very proud of. With departures from major American cities - Houston, New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco Chicago and Los Angeles - enjoy a comfortable flight to Paris where you will have a short lay-over before landing at Cardinal Bernardin Gantin international airport, less than 6 km away from the city centre.

Discovering Cotonou

As a symbolic location in Cotonou, Dantokpa market is the first site to be visited. You can soak in the local atmosphere and do a bit of shopping - there is something for everyone! You can also chat with the locals.
Another place with a very different atmosphere is the Red Star Square - commemorating the support of Benin's revolutionary regime to the "Marxist-Leninist" doctrine in 1974. Nowadays, the square is no longer linked to a political ideology, but is a vibrant place with lots of festivals and concerts. It is the fact the city's central hub, from which you can reach all the different sites. Why not try a local "zemidjans", or motor-taxi, and head to the General Mathieu Kerekou Friendship Stadium and its esplanade? This stadium holds sporting events and football matches when the Benin national team plays. It is also a unique place, with its esplanade that fills with people and activity every night. You can buy anything you want there, listen to improvised concerts and dance.
To find out more about local art, there are two must-see places. In the city centre, the Centre for Craft Promotion highlights works by young local artists. Jewellery, masks, paintings and ancient objects await you there. The Zinsou Foundation exhibits Benin's artistic and cultural heritage. You can find out more about artists known throughout the country, and discover their works.
The city also has lots of monuments to visit. The first is the Notre-Dame-de-Miséricorde cathedral, presenting a remarkable two-coloured façade - the only thing in the entire structure that has been decorated. Inside, sobriety is key. Then, head to the Jonquet and Xlacondji districts, where more traditional constructions stand. Do not miss out on the Wharf - the country's largest dock.
When staying in Cotonou, you can also go to beautiful beaches. Discover the Fidjrossè beach with its large stretch of sand and little huts where you can taste some local dishes. Do you prefer less crowded places? Then the El Dorado and Erevan beach are made for you. You could also go for a stroll along the Marina and over to the village of Ganvié. Nicknamed the Venice of Africa, this little lakeside city stands on the banks of Lake Nokoué - just a few kilometres outside Cotonou. There you can discover traditional wooden houses and a way of life of its own - paced by the lake and its activities.

To explore the various curiosities around Cotonou, you had better rent a car as soon as you arrive.
The fishing route is something worth doing before you leave. You will drive along coconut groves, lagoons and small fishing villages, dotted down a picturesque little road. After 42 km, you will reach the town of Ouidah. There you will discover the Door of No-Return, built to commemorate slavery, as well as the Pythons Temple (a voodoo sanctuary) and the Immaculate-Conception basilica.
You can also pursue your trip around Cotonou with a visit of Abomey, the former capital of Danhomey. There you can visit the Palace of the Kings - only open in the morning - and the numerous red clay houses. offers many direct flights to Paris departing from major US airports.
When you arrive at the Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport you can easily reach your hotel with the Super Shuttle, Air France buses, Citybird taxis or the Paris public transportation network (RER, metro, etc.).
You may reserve a flight for Paris or you may also reserve your flight + hotel and/or car rental when you reserve your ticket.

A successful stay in Cotonou

To enjoy your stay in Cotonou as best as possible, the nicest period is the dry season, so from November to February. That way you will avoid the heavy rain - which generally falls in May and June.

Once you have decided on your preferred travel period, you will need to book your plane tickets and check the various formalities required before coming. Feel free to have a look at our advice pages so your trip goes as smoothly as possible.
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