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Situated on the south-east shoreline of the Ivory Coast, overlooking the Gulf of Guinea, Abidjan is a lively cruise destination with a vibrant culture. As the former capital of the Ivory Coast, the city has a highly populated and bustling environment, with both fashionable and affluent areas, containing high-rise buildings and large department stores, as well as less wealthy but more authentic regions. Sometimes referred to as the 'Paris of West Africa', this dazzling city is an essential African cruise location.
Abidjan has a rich culture and heritage, alongside modern developments in certain areas of the city, which make it a particularly diverse and intriguing place to visit. Despite no longer being the capital, Abidjan is one of the largest and most significant areas of the Ivory Coast and therefore an essential West African tourist destination. While many tourists may wish to simply relax on one of the coastal city's beautiful beaches or enjoy the exciting nightlife on offer, there are also many fantastic sight-seeing opportunities to consider:
Cathedrale St Paul
Designed by architect Aldo Spirito, Cathedrale St Paul serves as the motherchurch for the diocese of the Roman Catholic Church of Abidjan. It's modern and progressive design, with a curved structure and innovative steeple, make it one of Africa's stand-out cathedrals and well worth visiting whilst staying in the city.
Parc du Banco
Located on the northwest side of Abidjan, Parc du Banco rainforest reserve offers its visitors charming walking trails with spectacular views. Despite being sparsely populated by wildlife, the 30km2 rainforest reserve contains majestic forests rich with rare plants and trees, as well as a large, peaceful lake.
As Abidjan's most established museum, Musee National offers a fascinating journey into the history of the Ivory Coast. Amongst the museum's collection are ancient artefacts including statues, masks and pottery made of wood, ivory and bronze. The Musee National is an essential stop for visitors looking to uncover aspects of Abidjan's interesting heritage and history.
A shopping trip in Abidjan would not be complete without including a visit to the Hypermarche Sococe. This extravagant department store offers a wide range of brands and retailers selling coffee, snacks, imported beers and cakes amongst other items. For a more authentic African shopping experience, travellers should consider visiting Abidjan's Marche de Treichville or Marche de Cocody, which specialise in selling African crafts and traditional trinkets from across the Ivory Coast. Aside from traditional markets and large shopping malls, the Librairie de France offers tourists the chance to purchase a wide selection of French and English books to enjoy during the remainder of their cruise.
Abidjan has restaurants and cafes to suit anyone's tastes, serving food from across the world. Visitors to the city will have the choice of Indian, French, Italian and Vietnamese restaurants as well the option of traditional African cuisine. The city also contains a variety of bakeries, which serve superb cakes and pastries, as well as fast food outlets serving burgers, chips and other common Western dishes. Abidjan has a variety of options available for eating out, which are sure to satisfy even the fussiest of eaters.
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