Franceville or Masuku is one of the four largest cities in Gabon, with a population of around 22,000 people. It lies on the River Mpassa and at the end of the Trans-Gabon Railway and the N3 road. It grew from a village named Masuku when Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza chose it to resettle former slaves and renamed it "Francheville" (meaning "city of the freed" in French) in 1880. The city later came to be called Franceville.
Franceville was founded by Brazza as "Francheville" (meaning "city of the freed" in French) on June 13, 1880. As time went on, it became known as Franceville. Features of the town include St Hilaire's Church (built in 1899), a large statue of President Omar Bongo (who was born in Franceville), and a primate medical research institute. The town also has a golf course, while its airport lies 20 km west in Mvengue. There is a market where numerous items can be purchased, including clothing, fruit and vegetables, electronics, meats, and the market also sells bushmeat, which includes African Rock Python, monkey and local species of animals.