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The Bushman Cafe Hotel
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Le Café des Jardins
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Public Gardens
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CAVA
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Domaine Bini
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The historic town of Grand-Bassam
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Equinox Fitness Centre
Abidjan

Top spots in Abidjan with Shay Lia

Shay Lia, Montreal-based singer who is of French-Djiboutian heritage burst onto the music scene in 2016 after featuring on Kaytranada's hit 'Chances' and 'Leave Me Alone.' Her neo-soul sound was what first put her onto the international radar, but overtime her music has evolved to incorporate her love for Afro-beats and reggae. Her first EP Dangerous was released in 2019, and led her to be long-listed for the prestigious 2019 Polaris Music Prize. Her 2020 EP Solaris was largely inspired by Côte d'Ivoire, a country she and her family often visits and is perhaps the place where she feels happiest. Read below as she gives us the lowdown on her favourite spots in Abidjan.

Shay Lia, Montreal-based singer who is of French-Djiboutian heritage burst onto the music scene in 2016 after featuring on Kaytranada's hit 'Chances' and 'Leave Me Alone.' Her neo-soul sound was what first put her onto the international radar, but overtime her music has evolved to incorporate her love for Afro-beats and reggae. Her first EP Dangerous was released in 2019, and led her to be long-listed for the prestigious 2019 Polaris Music Prize. Her 2020 EP Solaris was largely inspired by Côte d'Ivoire, a country she and her family often visits and is perhaps the place where she feels happiest. Read below as she gives us the lowdown on her favourite spots in Abidjan.

The Bushman Cafe Hotel

The Bushman Cafe Hotel is a necessary stop in Abidjan! It’s a hotel, an art gallery, a creative space, a rooftop bar and a cafe all in one. What makes it so special is the decor - it’s tastefully filled with that 70’s afro-aesthetic I can’t get enough of. The abundance of intriguing sculpture, prints, colours, art and plants is incredible and you leave feeling different. That level of beauty gives a sense of freedom and stimulation that is enhanced by the spirit of this place. You’ll see people going to their singing or yoga class in the art gallery, while others will be in the cafe looking for their calm, others will be laughing out loud on the rooftop at the restaurant!

Le Café des Jardins

Le Cafe des Jardins is a new, very modern cafe with a western approach and design to it. It has that green, soothing and relaxing set up. There aren’t that many places like that in Abidjan. The food is absolutely delicious. I recommend the fish skewers or the salmon with peanut butter sauce. The desserts are all very delicious too! If you're looking for a young, refreshing restaurant with a European aesthetic and a more elevated dining experience, this is for you.

Public Gardens

The Ivorian soil is so abundant. Every direction you look in, you see green. It feels like one big jungle so there are garden centres everywhere in Abidjan. They don’t have a specific name or a registered address (like many places in Africa) but they are definitely worth mentioning. It’s an affordable way to sight-see too! I took this picture at my favourite one, in the neighbourhood I stay in.

CAVA

Everyone who’s been to Abidjan knows about the CAVA. Translated from French, these four letters stand for “The Crafted Centre of the City of Abidjan”. It is the best place to buy authentic handcrafted gifts. It looks like a small village where all merchants and artists are selling fabric, sculptures, paintings, jewellery and more. It’s such a beautiful, colourful, charming and inspiring place to go. It exhibits the talent and identity of Abidjan so well and is also the perfect place to practise your bargaining skills!

Domaine Bini

Domaine Bini is the place to disconnect from society. From the city of Abidjan, it will take about half an hour to get there. You’ll be welcomed in full nature by professional guides and a welcoming staff and can go on an educational walk in the woods where you will be introduced to the surrounding ecosystem. It’s a beautiful way to learn about how coconut palms grow; why rubber trees are bent and the cocoa circuit. After the hike you’ll be able to take a bath outside, covered in the natural clay of your choice. Then comes lunch - a selection of delicious traditional meals. They also have bedrooms if you decide to pay for 2 days! It’s a divine place to connect with Mother Nature and educate yourself while spending a good time with friends and family.

The historic town of Grand-Bassam

The historic town of Grand-Bassam is the first capital of Côte d’Ivoire. It is so well preserved and protected by UNESCO. Being there feels like travelling through time and going back to the late 19th- and early 20th-century. It is an incredibly charming and calm little town where you can spend the day walking around and wondering about the past. Grand-Bassam was the most important port, economic and judicial centre of Côte d’Ivoire when the country was a French colony.

Equinox Fitness Centre

The Equinox Fitness is a Fitness Centre located in Cocody. I love this place! If you want to stay in shape during your stay in Abidjan I highly recommend it. It has a huge, well equipped gym on two floors, a basketball court, a pool and a small spa. The best thing is that it’s never packed, so you don’t have to worry about Covid-19! I love that the coaches are very nice and helpful. It’s also very affordable considering all the services that also include full access to all the classes (afro dance, spinning, boxing, yoga etc.). A very friendly peaceful atmosphere with good music!! It will boost your mood!