We love our traveling community here at Visiter l’Afrique and love introducing you all to each other even more! Meet Francesca and discover Lomé through her eyes!
So tell us a bit about yourself.
Well my name is Francesca, I am 24 years old. I’m from Italy and Benin. I was born in Cotonou, Benin and brought up in Lomé, Togo where I have lived most of my life. I attended the British School of Lomé and eventually went on to carry out the rest of my education in Europe (London, Milan & Paris). I have recently moved back to Africa for work; I’m in the field of International Relations.
I enjoy traveling, reading, drawing, shopping and eating of course!
I love traveling and discovering new cultures, although I have lived in Africa most of my life I realised that I have not even seen one third of it yet and one of my dreams is to travel all over Africa and try and visit every single country of the continent.
I’m a real Beach Bum ! I love the beach so much if you give the see, the sun and the sand I am the happiest girl in the world
Where can you go in Lomé for some great buys?
Well it totally depends on what you are looking to buy.
The first place I would suggest is Assiganmé also known in french as le Grand Marché meaning the big market. There you will find absolutely anything and everything.
There you will find the greatest businesswomen who with their success stories have lulled the childhood of many generations. It is the economic lung of the country after the Port of Lomé. Most of the trade is run by women in brightly colored traditional outfits. I strongly suggest you to visit this market full of vitality and energy. In the market you will find boutiques, stalls, little shops or even people selling on the side from fruits, vegetables, fish, to clothes, beads, jewellry and craft items. It is also very close to the Cathedral of Lomé.
For Wax I would suggest the market but if you prefer going into a store you have Vlisco and Woodin which are absolutely beautiful stores. There you can buy clothes already made or just the cloth and then you can get it made by a local tailor.
The big market of Cacaveli which is situated in the north of Lomé next to Agbalepedo. This is a more modern market with various shops you will also find fruits, vegetable and fabric sellers.
The artisanal village groups different trades. You can see the craftsmen at work: batik, wood carving, engraving, weaving etc. Rue Foch & Rue du Commerce well known to get souvenirs.
If you want to get things made in silver one of my favourite is Chez Thiam he is one of the best.
For those of you who are curious you may want to go and visit Le Marché au Fétiches. It is the place where one can observe the products of Togolese religion and traditional medicine. The fetish market is located in the district of Akodésséwa. The market is famous throughout the subregion for the great diversity of its products, enabling many people to find what the sorcerers have prescribed. Birds’ feathers, animal skulls, animal skins, herbs and all sorts of things that are supposed to have magical qualities appear on the counters, as well as small carved fetishes.
Cool places to grab a bite?
It totally depends on what you want to eat but here are a few of my favourite spots!
- Le Patio Lot 9, Cité OUATel: +228 90 37 67 07
Love love love this place the food is good, the cocktails are good and I love how it was decorated. Basically it is a villa which was transformed into a restaurant/bar (Indoors & Outdoors) and also has a few rooms for those who are looking for accommodation during their stay in Lomé.
- Alt Munchen Boulevard du MonoTel: +228 22 27 63 21
One of my favourite ever, it existed even before I was born. I have great memories of birthday parties there. A beautiful location in front of the port of Lomé, you can dine indoors or outdoors. They specialize in German cuisine but also have a great selection of fresh fish and meat. Strongly recommended.
- GreenField Tokoin, LoméTel: +228 22 21 21 55
Everyone knows GreenField and it has been there for quite a while I believe they have the best Pizza in Lomé. Ah yes and they also do movie nights.
- Sushi Bar Angle Rue Des Moussons & Avenue Grunitsky, Ave Nicolas Grunitsky, Lome 3066, Togo. Tel: +228 22 33 92 26
For those who like exotic food Sushi Bar has excellent Japanese food and you have an amazing show of the chef cooking for you right in front of you. Strongly recommend.
- Les Brochettes de la Capitale Quartier Abobokomé, Boulevard du 13 Janvier. Tél. : + 228 22 21 43 55
The unavoidable brochettes de La Capital a MUST !! Not far from the airport, it does not have a specific address but in Lomé everyone knows it.
There are so many other places that I could name, just know you won’t starve that’s for sure!
What’s the nightlife like in Lomé?
Well I think that depends on everyone’s personal experience of it but the most important I believe is that you are with a good group of people who know where to go and how to party you will certainly have fun. The nightlife is a lot crazier during the holiday season when everyone is home that is mostly during the summer and christmas season.
- La Villa Tel: +228 91 97 33 95This is the place to be, Everyone goes here!
- Le Select Bvd du 13 Janvier – NyekonakpoeTel: +228 90 49 14 37
This bar/lounge style bar opened recently and it’s always packed.
- Aské Bar Night Club Radisson Blu Hotel 2 Février Place de l’indépendance BP.131 Tel: +228 22 23 86 00
This chic spot is another new fixture in the Lomé nightlife landscape.
- Premium Esplanade Adewui, Lomé Tel: +228 90 37 45 60
Outdoors, Music is always good (they say they have the best DJ of lomé), more local than all the above but if you like dancing I guarantee you will not be sitting much.
Why do you travel and how do you get to do it?
I love traveling I love discovering new places and cultures. I have been lucky that I come from a modest family and have always been able from a young age to travel to different countries whether on holidays, because my family moved or for my studies. My parents also love traveling and going to places they had never been before I guess that is probably one of the reasons why I travel and certainly enjoy it. As soon as I have the possibility (time and financially) I plan a trip I always try to go somewhere I’ve never been before but I do often go back to Togo, Benin and Morocco.
How many languages do you speak and how has it made your travel experiences smoother?
My mother tongue is French and my second language English. At home because of my background (Father is Italian, mother Beninese and mostly grew up Togo) I also speak Italian, Ewe and Fon. At school I took Spanish and still have a more than decent level today. A few words in Arabic, like please, thank you, good morning … I guess that is from being in Morocco very often. I recently started taking Mandarin classes but I must admit it is so difficult and I actually do not have much time properly concentrate on it but hopefully will eventually make it.
For me english and french have always been more than enough, in the world we live in today almost everyone we come across speaks at least one of the two. Nevertheless, having knowledge of other languages has certainly been helpful and I do not think it necessarily makes the travel experiences smoother but rather brings you closer to the culture and the people of wherever you are, when you speak or understand their language I believe it breaks a certain cultural barrier and brings you closer to the people.
What other african countries have you been to so far and what’s your next destination?
Unfortunately I have not been in as many country is I would have wished to but so far I’ve been to Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, Sao Tomé e Principe, Senegal, Morocco and Ivory Coast. As for where next … Hmm … Hopefully Tanzania, Seychelles and Kenya. They are on top of my to do list.
P.S If you are not sure of how to get somewhere most taxi’s know exactly where to go do not worry Lomé is quite small everyone knows everywhere do not be scared to get lost !
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