Hanoi is undergoing strong growth with more modern works, to be a dynamic developing city. Besides the modern skyscraper buildings, Hanoi remains old architectures from hundreds of years of history, featuring European style of the architectural heritage from the French colonial which formed our unique and charming Hanoi.
Visitors to Hanoi could not miss a chance to glimpse the beautiful architectural works built late 19th and early 20th century. French architecture in Hanoi is rich in style, built in harmony master planning architecture of sidewalks, trees and natural surroundings, like no other city in Asia. The typical French architectures mentioned first Long Bien bridge across the Red River, formerly named under Indochina Paul Doumer discretion (Pont Paul-Doumer) and are constructed in 1903. This bridge is considered to be one of the cultural icons of the capital Hanoi.
In the urban area of Hanoi also exists a range of magnitude French structures such as: the Governor of Indochina (now the Presidential Palace), Tonkin’s Palace (now the government Guest House), Bank of Indochina (now the State Bank of Vietnam), Louis Finot Museum (now the national Museum of history of Vietnam), the Court (now the Supreme people’s court)… Each works carries its own appearance, consistent with the surrounding landscape.
In the harmony of the natural and tropical climate, the French have created suitable architectures. That works, mansion, villa with hallway, large gardens surround the main space. For example, the Tonkin’s Palace built behind an extensive flower gardens, featuring architecture of the yellow walls and lime green doors as harmonization of the sunshine of a tropical country. The Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel brings elegant and luxurious appearance with white painted walls, the green windows. Most impressive is the city Opera House was designed as a yellow bright palace with balcony, corridors, high windows, roof dome featured on blue sky, forming excellent highlight space. In some works, the French architect was localized by offering more style traditional village architecture of Vietnam, making the work more abundant.
Best charm of French architecture in Hanoi might be streets with rows of lovely villas located in the shadow under the trees in some main streets. Each villa has its own style, with design being applied mechanically from central France as in the street of Phan Dinh Phung, Hoang Dieu, Tran Phu and Le Hong Phong… The style villas in south of France as in the street of Quang Trung, Tran Quoc Toan or Indochinese style mansion (adds details oriental architecture) on Ly Nam De Street..
The baguette: France’s food legacy
French cuisine has had a lot of influence on Vietnamese cuisine, the typical and popular food is the baguette (banh mi – French bread). French bread was first made in Vietnam to feed hungry soldiers in Indochina, France’s empire which spanned much of Southeast Asia from 1858 to its crushing defeat in the Dien Bien Phu battle in Vietnam in 1954.
By 1910, little baguettes or ‘petit pain‘ were sold in the street of Hanoi to people who were on their way to work, in the years followed, meat, vegetables, eggs, pate or fish loaded in the bread – banh mi sold all over Hanoi.
Today, in Hanoi, there are many chic cafes serving French baguette croque monsieur and macarons at “Paris prices“, but the $1 banh mi still rules Hanoi street food scene.
Xe xích lô (Cyclo)
Cyclo (Rickshaw) is now a unique vehicle, make Hanoi distinct. A lot of foreign visitors to Hanoi capital choose to use the transportation to visit and explore the ancient beauty and the lives of Hanoi residents…
Cyclo was brought to Hanoi in 1939, at first, it was used by French and Hanoi mandarins replacing of horse carriage or hammocks. Gradually, this means becoming familiar on the streets of Hanoi, and exists to this day. But now cyclo is only available for travelers for a relaxing trip around the French quarter (old quarter).
Join our tour to explore little Paris in Hanoi to learn deeply about French culture existence in Hanoi.