Grand Bassam: Côte d’Ivoire’s UNESCO World Heritage Site

French Colonial Architecture, Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast

One of many grand colonial buildings in Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire

Grand Bassam was the French colonial capital of Côte d’Ivoire from 1893-1896, at which point an unfortunate yellow fever epidemic wiped out most of the French population. Bassam, as its known locally, is a short 45 minute drive from Abidjan and is well worth a day trip.

The city, situated between the lagoon and the open sea, boasts many fine colonial buildings, such as this one. This rich colonial legacy contributed to the recent addition of Grand Bassam to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.

Bassam is also home to some of the best local artisans. Woodwork, batiks, pottery and kente cloth are all popular souvenirs.

When you cap it all off with gorgeous white sand beaches and a selection of good restaurants, I can’t imagine why any visitor wouldn’t want to spend at least a day in Bassam!


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