Parakou Travel Guide

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A visit to Benin would not be complete without time spent in Parakou, which is the capital of the Borgou Department. Parakou boasts a population of about 188,853 people and is one of the 77 districts in Benin.

The word Parakou means ‘a city for everyone’ and is derived from a local tribal word. Parakou is one of the largest cities in Benin and serves as the terminus for the Benin-Niger Railways. It is essentially Benin’s final port of call before goods move along the Niger River. This could be one of the reasons why Parakou thrives as a bustling marketplace. Some of the industries that are the foundation of Parakou’s economy are the cotton, textile and peanut oil industries.   

Staying in Parakou 

Parakou’s Central Business District is the main area of the city and is one of the best places to stay. A pink column built in the center of the Business District serves as a landmark and draws locals and tourists towards the center of the city. Some of the offices in this region include the Ministry of Culture, Art and Tourism and the Parakou Library. Monetary transactions will not be an issue either with the Eco Bank, Bank of Africa and the Financial Bank centrally located within Parakou’s business district. For museum enthusiasts, the Musée en Plein Air de Parakou is a must see attraction. In the past decade Parakou has become popular with tourists and as a result its nightlife has developed. The KMM club and the Bataclan Nightclub, which can be found adjacent to the Hotel Princesse, are two good nightclubs in the region.

If you should require their services, a post office, hospital and police station are also located within this region.

Shopping in Parakou 

Visitors to Parakou looking for an interesting shopping experience should go to the Grand Marche Azeke, which is known for its variety of souvenirs. One of the largest markets in Benin and most definitely the largest in Parakou, the Grand Marche covers an entire block and has close to a thousand vendors. Articles one can expect to find on sale here include spices, eatables, souvenirs and kitchen utensils. The Marche Kobo Kobo, the city’s unofficial retail hub boasts several high end boutiques and stores. While on holiday in Parakou, tourists should not fail to try out the local beer made from millets. The Marche Guema, which is open only on Sundays, is a good place to sample this variety of local beer.


May 12, 2005 change by aaron_guenther

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