Drawing on the experience of firms of various sizes from Francophone Africa, we explore how the internationalization trajectories of frontier economy firms may vary from those predicted by theory. The firms studied followed social, linguistic, cultural, and institutional gradients to internationalize first to France, rather than to neighboring countries, and did so in search of not only markets and resources but also legitimacy. In turn, the sales, resources, and legitimacy acquired in France supported further international expansion, sometimes even to neighboring countries. Although our insights derive from the experience of Francophone firms from Africa, we argue that for firms from all former colonies, the internationalization trajectory leads through the colonial center. Our findings underline the roles of legitimacy-seeking and network ties in the internationalization of frontier market firms and serve as a salutatory reminder of the lingering influence of colonial ties on international business.