The City of Grand-Bassam has played a very important role historically in the shaping of Côte d’Ivoire. The city was a pole during the first contacts of the Europeans with West-Africa as it is located on the coast and served as the capital city in the colonial period.
The city has a lot to offer for the fans of historical buildings and monuments or bathing in the sea.
Especially the district Quartier France, the area between the laguna Ébrié and the atlantic ocean, accessible via the Bridge of Victory, offers a unique possibility in the whole country to immerse oneself in the colonial past of Côte d’Ivoire. In Quartier France you will also find most of the grand standing hotels, restaurants and holiday homes of the city, mainly in renovated old colonial buildings. With the Wharf, the Lighthouse, the Costume Museum, the Bridge of Victory, the CFAO Building, the town hall, the old french administrative subdivision and many other monuments which partly survived the time, the colonial heritage of Côte d’Ivoire is very present in the city.
The Bridge of Victory has been renamed in memory to the womens march on Bassam and the related events on 24. December 1949. Following the arrest and imprisonment of their husbands, sons and brothers because of their political opinions, women coming from all regions of Côte d’Ivoire marched towards Bassam, the headquarter of the French colonial administration and location of the prison, to request the liberation of their men. They in fact didn’t get what they asked for, as their men were not released and got beaten while some ended up with bad enjuries or were even inprisoned. But renaming the Bridge in their memory was to mark their courage and bravery. Besides there is graffiti (Quartier France) and a monument (city centre) in their memory.
When visiting Quartier France do not miss out on the Costume museum. It is housed in the ancient residence of the governor during the French colonial period. It accommodates a very nice costume and architectural collection from all regions of Côte d’Ivoire dating from the colonial times. The museum sums up well the entire history of the country through the costumes and the architectural collection.
For those who like the beach, the sea is just a 5 minute walk from the costume museum. Bassam offers very nice beaches with fine sand and clear sea water.