In the past, under the domination of the French colonialist, Hanoi was separated into three regions which are French area, Vietnamese area and concession area.
Up till now, the French area has been know as the French Quarter.
Compared to the Old Quarter, French Quarter might be not as bustling as its neighbor but it would take you to another part of Hanoi soul – the charming and elegant one. Let us help you to grasp some must-know things about the area.
French Quarter in Hanoi mainly formed and developed during the French colonial period, from the early 20th century until the 1945.
These are the main areas for Vietnamese and French civil servants in Hanoi. The basic structure of a street is mainly for living with separate villas, works for the government such as the court, the office,…
Structurally, the French Quarter is based on the grid line. This structure is quite strong, therefore difficult to break.
In the French Quarter, most of the works were designed by French architects, much influenced by the style of colonial architecture. In addition, there are many villas, duplex houses, office buildings designed by Vietnamese architects or a collaboration between Vietnamese and French architects in the designing process. The details of cultural architecture, Vietnamese lifestyle has also been paid attention to these legacies.
Thus, the value of the neighborhood is the style of French architecture that has been reasonably changed for Vietnam in general and Hanoi in particular.
2. Attractions in French Quarter
Through the ups and downs of history, the French architectural works reflecting the mark of Indochinese architecture left in Hanoi still brings a unique beauty and also the romantic fragments for the city.
Many people come to Hanoi and love Hanoi also because of ancient architecture in the breath of modern life. Let’s take a look at the French-style architecture left over in the capital through these charming attractions.
2.1. Hanoi Opera House
Hanoi Opera House is one of the few French architectural works which is preserved almost perfectly. The theater was built for a long time, from 1901 to 1911. Inspired by the famous Opéra Garnier Theater in Paris, the Hanoi Opera House is actually a massive architectural work of its time, with a total area of 2,600m2.
The Opera House and the Opera House Square are home to many important historical events of the country such as rallies and demonstrations. This is where the National Assembly of Democratic Republic of Vietnam first met on March 2, 1946.
2.2. St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Hanoi
This is a well-known 19th century European style building. The Cathedral of Hanoi was built in 1884 and completed in 1886. The church’s style is a colorful Gothic architecture. The project is 64.5m long, 20.5m wide and two 31.5m high bell towers with large four-cornered stone pillars, topped with stone cross. When you come here, you will be overwhelmed by the solemnity of a religious architecture.
2.3. Hoa Lo Prison
Hoa Lo Prison was built in 1896 by the French colonialist, with the goal of detaining anti-colonialist and Vietnamese revolutionaries. This place is the most reminiscent of the heroic and painful past.
The artifacts displayed here are related to the struggle for independence of the Vietnamese nation. The prison site also features short documentaries, depicting scenes of American prisoners being detained there.
2.4. National Museum of Vietnamese History
National Museum of VietnameseLocated at No.1 Trang Tien street, National Museum of Vietnamese History was built from 1925 to 1932. It was followed the style of Indochinese architecture which means the surface structure is completely as same as French style at that time , but there was some architectural changes to adapt to climate conditions, landscape as well as traditional culture. Therefore, this Asian-European architectural combination has an elegant and unique beauty.
Today, the work is used as a museum to display and present historical materials and objects through periods and Vietnamese dynasties. On the premises of the museum, there are also cafes catering for visitors to relax after visiting and exploring history.
Each building is not only of artistic value but also of historical significance. It is in the hearts of those who have come to Hanoi that the past and the beauty of human values in the land of thousand years of civilization. If you have the opportunity to Hanoi, do not miss these interesting destinations.
3. Hotels, Cafés in the French Quarter
3.1. Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole
This hotel could be considered an iconic of Hanoi’s colonial work with a grandeur and timeless charm unmatched in the city, or elsewhere in the region. The hotel lies in the heart of Hanoi since 1901 near the Opera House. It’s important role is hosting playwrights, ambassadors and heads of state.
Hotel Sofitel Legend Metrpole from outside
La Terrasse Du Metropole
The high-class restaurant is located in the hotel. It has a Parisian side-walk style with air-opened sitting place to enjoy the Hanoian view. The menu is also covered with French food and beverage.
- Opening time: daily 11:00 – 24:00
- Address: No.15 Ngo Quyen street
Au Delice & Le Restaurant d’Arthur Hanoi
The restaurant serves French cuisine as well as a wide range of drinks coming from many other countries in a homely setting.
- Opening time: daily 9:00 – 22:00
- Address: No.2B Ngo Thi Nham street
RICO Steak House
This is a classy South America dining restaurant which is best known for its extensive food menu comprising a mix of Australian and Argentinean beef dishes, pasta, salads and seafoods.
- Opening time: 11:00 – 23:00
- Address: No.56 Tran Quoc Toan street
AMATO is a Western style restaurant located behind the Hanoi Opera House. The menu offers a wide range of European delicacies.
- Opening time: Mon – Sat 7:30 – 23:00
- Address: No.1A Trang Tien street
Sen is a buffet restaurant which will impress everyone by its “colorful” cuisines. This restaurant is followed Asian style in the architecture as well as its foods.
- Opening time: 18:00 – 22:00
- Address: No.60 Ly Thai To street
Since the French quarter is home to luxury things so that shopping in this area involves high-end shopping malls and delicate boutiques as well as artistic showrooms by local artists and book stores.
Here, you can find high class brands such as: Dior, Louis Vuitton, Versace,..at Trang Tien plaza – a three-storey shopping mall located in Trang Tien – the most busy street in the neighborhood.
Also, there are other shopping choices for people who wanna look for local or chic designer art piece. Here are some galleries and boutiques highly recommended for this kind of demand:
Red Moon Gallery
- Opening time: 10:00 – 18:00
- Address: No.38 Trang Tien street
Thanh Bình Gallery
- Opening time: 10:00 – 18:00
- Address: No.25,27 Trang Tien street
Dong Phong Art Gallery
- Opening time: 10:00 – 18:00
- Address: No.3 Ly Dao Thanh street
Cho Hom market (This place is home to all kinds of fabric which would be the best choice for ones looking for material to make traditional customs)
- Opening time: 6:00 – 17:00
- Address: No.293 Tran Nhan Tong street
You’ve visited most places of French Quarter in Hanoi. If you’d love to have more information about French Quarter, please don’t hesitate to book a Free Tour with local guides.
Written by: Kalyn.