Cotonou - Post Report Question and Answers

Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

There are very few expat singles here, but there is a lively social scene and a lot to do. Families with younger kids tend to be very happy here because of the great household help, outdoor space, and social options. - Feb 2020

All the above. Families with kids above grade 8 face schooling challenges. - Aug 2018

Yes to all, but you will have to make your own fun/activities no matter who you are. - Oct 2015

Excellent place for everyone. - Jun 2015

If you're a strong French speaker, and perhaps wouldn't be so concerned with some of the morally-questionable folks in the French expat community - possibly. However, if your primary language is English, or if hanging out at loud francophone parties with a lot of people smoking pot isn't an option for you - not so good. But - if you're a couple who generally prefers to stay at home, you might be OK. - Aug 2014

Totally depends on the family (or person). If you enjoy quiet and weekends at home, you will fare well here. If you don't, who knows, you just might change, as the country/pace of life here certainly isn't going to change. I have changed--from initially hating Cotonou to now enjoying it. - Jul 2013

The lack of things to do and the small expat community make this a challenging post for singles, although I've seen some have good experiences by breaking into the Peace Corps and/or the Francophone expat scenes. Same with couples. There are some clubs and music venues; there's a lot of entertaining at home. Families that value spending quality time together at home or at the beach seem happiest here, with the exception of those (especially with very young children) who worry about the lack of quality medical care. Like in any small post, things change significantly with each transfer season, but currently there are lots of babies, toddlers, and elementary-school kids in the embassy community, and I would guess that families would be much happier here than singles or couples. However, this isn't a perfect family post, as there are no public parks, playgrounds, or activities for kids. You really have to make your own fun. - May 2013

It is probably best for young families but not easy for anyone who doesn't speak French. There are 3000 French people here, and 9 million Beninois. If you want to socialize with the vast majority of them, you will need strong French. For singles, there's a fun but pretty small scene of about 100-150 mostly French-speaking singles that hang out at the same bars, restaurants, and house parties. But again, French is the key to unlocking this group. - Mar 2013

The Anglophone community is so small that the singles, couples, and families all mix and mingle. I’m not sure that one has any particular advantage over the other. We all make our own fun. Fluent French speakers are going to have a much larger social pool. - Dec 2011

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