Hanoi is developing rapidly with modern high-rise buildings mushrooming. French lifestyle in Vietnam is gradually losing its strong color, yet some characteristics have become permanent influence or hard-to-lose ones. In the past, the dreadful war that French brought to Hanoi, people often think of what they had left there after one hundred years of colonization as well. At present, there are still many old buildings with French architectural styles dating back hundreds of years making Hanoi more beautiful.
Although the French colonial period came to an end a long time ago, much of the French arts and deco style are still imprinted in the architecture of Hanoi. One hundred years under colonization of French, Vietnam did not lose its traditional color, but it also absorbs new perspectives from a modern France. Along the history of Hanoi city, it is not overstated to claim that ancient French architecture has contributed significantly in creating a unique, magnetic and charming Hanoi with its elegance and nobility. The French architecture in Hanoi is unique. It doesn’t exist anywhere else in Southeast Asia and Asia.
What role has French architecture played in HaNoi’s architecture identity?
French popular styles influenced the creative work of French architects, who then tried to adapt these to Vietnam’s tropical environment. The result was a unique elegance: The “Indochinese Architectural Style”. The building created by these French architects and by Vietnamese who adapted the style even further are part of Hanoi;s architecture and cultural heritage and, in particular, add to the richness of the capital’s “French Quarter”.
To avoid the tropical heat, the architects adopted an eclectic style, opting for buildings with railings surrounded by gardens. The Palace of the Governor of Tonkin has yellow walls and green windows fitting perfectly with the honey-colored tropical sun. A short walk away is the famous Metropole Hotel, a luxurious and elegant building with white walls. Located in the heart of the city, the Hanoi Opera House is like a sumptuous palace of colonnades and arches.
Strongly inspired by the Garnier Opera House in Paris, this building was built between 1901 and 1910.
Where is the “French Quarter”?
During colonialism, a Vietnamese person stepping into Ville Francaise ( The French City) which was sometimes also known as Khu Pho Tay ( the Westerners’ Quarter) felt like a foreigner in the capital of his own country. Today, Hanoians still refer to that sector of the city as the “French Quarter”
The French Quarter’s main artery is Trang Tien Street, once called Rue Paul Bert in honor of the French president General of Tonkin in 1886.
Actually, Hanoi Old Quarter is often the first place to come and the last place to leave of all city visitors. It has affected by French Architecture.
Hanoi: Sifting of French Architecture
- Hanoi Opera House
- Long Bien bridge
- Renovating a house on TrangTien Street ( formerly Rue Paul Bert )
- Army’s hospital 108 ( Don Thuy French Military Hospital
- Hanoi University ( Formerly Universite Indochinoise )
- Presidential Palace ( formerly Palais du Gouverneur General )
“The French urbanized Hanoi where the French architectural heritage of past centuries is still omnipresent. These buildings have been adapted to the tropical climate and the Eastern cultural traditions of Vietnam.”
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