Grand Bassam has UNESCO status due to it’s history as a French West African capital city. As a result, all of its buildings are protected. Many of these buildings are however in a state of disrepair. In March 2020 I explored several of the abandoned buildings and I share my photography here.
Former Post Office and Customs
The first abandoned building on the list is the former Post Office and Customs building. In fact, the Poste et Douane sign outside the building transports you back in time before you even enter!
Nowadays in France, you go to an electronic booth, print out a bar-code, stick it on your letter and post it through a slot in a yellow post box. Although most of the process has been modernized, the posting through a slot remains the same.
It’s amazing how a staircase built over 100 years ago can become a top Instagram location today.
The interior of the Post Office and Customs building is incredibly easy to explore. It’s in fact in the process of being restored so if you’re hardcore into abandoned buildings you may be disappointed with this one. Nonetheless, there are still some parts of the structure untouched by this restoration project.
Imagine the corruption and confiscation which occurred in the customs house. Don’t forget to visit the rear garden and let your imagination run wild.
Central African Bank
Banque Centrale Africaine is the best kept abandoned building in Grand Bassam. The French tiles decorating the exterior show passers by this is a place of wealth.
However, just like you couldn’t have broken into the bank back in the day, you cannot break and enter today.
Hotel de France
Hotel de France was the first luxury hotel in Ivory Coast. In fact, you could say the French brought their renowned luxury with them.
Before you enter, pay attention to the exterior decoration.
Welcome to the Hotel de France. Please take a seat in the lobby whilst we check you into the hotel.
Take a seat in the open courtyard and relax.
Once upon a time this was a guest room in Ivory Coast’s first luxury hotel.
Some rooms at the abandoned Hotel de France in Grand Bassam are occupied by squatters. For this reason, take care as you explore and consider hiring a local guide to show you around.
Some of the original interior design still exists today. I’m sure the original artist who created this will be happy to know his work survived through the years.
Ganamet House is a three story building which offers wonderful panoramic views of Grand Bassam for those who risk the decaying stairs to the top floor.
I found Masion Ganamet to be the most Instagram worthy abandoned building in Grand Bassam. It’s decaying walls and Middle East influenced architecture really lived on through the years of neglect.
As you ascend to the tops floors take care on the decaying stairs. These really could collapse at any moment.
Do you see the Islamic architecture in the window frame. This is unique in Grand Bassam. However, be careful as you pose for Instagram shots here as there’s a straight drop to the floor on the other side. What’s more, there is an attempt of street art on display throughout this property.
Some parts of the interior are quite colorful.
The fragile staircases now feature overgrown weeds which adds to the unique design of Ganamet House. Imagine staying one night here today!
The rooftop of the abandoned Ganamet House offers panoramic views over Grand Bassam.
Maison des Esclaves is definitely the abandoned building in Grand Bassam with the darkest history. Many people know of Slave Island in Dakar Senegal but sadly this isn’t the only place slaves were taken from. There are hundreds of slave ports and slave castles throughout the African coast.
Once upon a time hundreds of slaves would be held in shackles here. They were kidnapped or traded from nearby and would have to wait here until the next slave ship came to port. The slave ship would then take them to the Americas.
Slaves would be given a minimal amount of food. Not only because the French treat them badly but also to keep them weak and prevent a meaningful uprising. I expect several slaves would have died here from disease and malnutrition before they even made it to the ship. Read about Slave Island in The Gambia.
Random Abandoned Buildings
I visited several important abandoned buildings in Grand Bassam. However, these are simply the tip of the iceberg. As you explore Grand Bassam you’ll discover several more abandoned buildings. In addition to these, you’ll also discover restored buildings from the French colonial period. As a matter of fact, several buildings have been converted to museums, hotels as well as art shops and restaurants. Enjoy your time in Grand Bassam.