Not much to say about Paris- I just wanted to include it on the map because a number of people had asked about how you would get to West Africa from theory confines of Toronto. There is obviously nothing direct from Canada and even connecting through the U.S. offers up very few options. Air France, however, has a extensive schedule serving a number of their former colonies in West Africa so we're using them via Paris to get to Bamako, Mali, and to return from Cotonou, Benin.
The flight from Toronto was overnight arriving early in Paris and, of course, the flight to Bamako didn't leave until late in the day so we had the pleasure of the Paris airport for extended hours. Just to make sure that you knew you were in Paris the terminal was stuffed with high-end boutique shops and 2 cafes that served $8 coffees and a number expensive cheese sandwiches. DH spent most of the time reminiscing about our trip here a couple of years ago- I think she was trying to convince me to bail on West Africa and relive Paris- no such luck.