Do you know Saint Louis? I went there for the first time last December. Since a few years, we have decided to go out from Dakar for a few days during our annual stay in Senegal. This year we went to Saint Louis, a city located in the North of Senegal.
A magic city...
Saint Louis is the oldest town built by colonizers in West Africa. The history of this city is intimately linked with France. Its name Saint Louis in French and "Ndar" in Wolof (language spoken in Senegal), was given in honor of the King of France Louis IX.
At its peak, Saint Louis of Senegal was the capital of Senegal (with the current Mauritania) and the one of the FWA, French West Africa.
I went to Saint Louis with the stories of its prestigious past in mind. Crossing the Faidherbe bridge (emblem of this city, connecting the island to the mainland) and the arrival on the island at the foot of the Hotel de la Poste, mythical hotel in which Jean Mermoz was staying, delighted me!
I had the feeling that time stood. The city is charming with its colonial-style architecture, its colourful old buildings, the facades of its sublime homes with wrought-iron balconies, marble columns, lush gardens and galleries on every corner. Absolute happiness!
So I spent an afternoon strolling in the galleries that went from the busiest contemporary art exhibitions, beautiful local wooden furniture or neighboring countries to the tiny workshops where you find improbable objects. The creations are diverse and varied: carpenters-cabinetmakers, sculptors, basket makers, dyers, and specialized jewellers, renowned for the work of the filigree, who keep an assiduous African and European clientele. There is always something for anyone's taste. My two favourites were for the Museum of Photography, or Mupho, that I could visit despite being in renovation. This recently opened museum enriches the heritage of this city, already rich in history.
The artworks of the photographer Malick Welli, who I have presented a few months ago, are exhibited there. Read his interview and check his photos on Kelen website.
My second favorite place is “Le comptoir du fleuve”.
Just the name makes me travel! Originally, it was a warehouse of the nineteenth century built for the sorting of Arabic gum.
Today this venue is the place to be. An atypical place with breathtaking views of the Senegal River, the "Comptoirs du Fleuve", more than a large glass building with ocher walls is also a space for meetings and exchanges. It is in this old shed, overlooking the Senegal River that the master of the place, Amadou Diaw, wanted to make the spirit of Saint Louis, his hometown, live again.
In the gallery, at the entrance of the "Comptoirs du Fleuve", paintings, photographs, texts printed on canvas, sculptures and installations are regularly exhibited.
From Saint Louis to Istanbul...
Not being able to take you in Saint Louis, I brought for you artistic wonders as paintings, decorative items, culinary arts that I invite you to discover ☺
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I have everything you need.