Cotonou is the most important city of Benin. Porto Novo is the official capital, but in economic activity Cotonou takes the first place. It is the place to arrange your visa and onward transport.
Although the city itself doesn’t boast too many sights it is a lively place and an ideal spot for planning trips to the region. From Cotonou it is 20 minutes to Porto Novo with its museums and royal palace. The slave port of Ouidah with many historical sites and museums is 40 Kms west of Cotonou. To Abomey, the ancient capital of Dahomey it is 100km north. All main roads are paved and in good condition.
Ganvie, the Venice of Africa a village build on stakes in the lake is a few kilometres north of Cotonou.
The Boulevard St. Michel is the centre of town and like its counterpart in Paris it’s a very busy streets with lots of activities. At the end of the boulevard you find the Dan Topka market, and this is a good place to find transport to the other attractions.