Portray of the Destination
Situated close to the Atlantic Ocean and the Sahara Desert, the city of Saint-Louis occupies an
important place in Senegal. This island offers such a rich history that it is gradually becoming
known at an international level. It is also the oldest French-built city in West Africa, and its
history is often confused with that of the French colonisation.
Considered a showcase of French Africa, the city was established as a French settlement,
becoming the first permanent French settlement in Africa. By 1916, Saint-Louis was a thriving
community, conserving a French personality through and through. The city was subject to conflict,
however, when the French and British fought for control; the French eventually prevailed, retaining
control until the country's independence. The city was named Saint-Louis in honour of Louis XVII,
yet people of Senegal also refer to it as “Ndar” in Wolof, the national language of Senegal.
Nowadays Saint-Louis has a population of approximately 180,000, and the city's principal economic
sectors are fishing, commerce and tourism.
The districts of Langue de Barbarie and Guet Ndar are home to a growing population of
fishermen, since fishing is the city's most profitable trade. The heritage of its architecture and
culture are so significant that the city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000; an
icon of the city is its Faidherbe Bridge, which has connected the island with the rest of the
continent since 1865. As well as its fine historical heritage, Saint-Louis also benefits from a
splendid natural landscape.
We would like to thank the Senegal Tourist Office for the images provided.