French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go

French Quarter | Map and Guide for First Time Visitors

Posted By : Lê Hoàng/ 21 0

French Quarter

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 - Hanoi Where to go
French Quarter is represented by orange area

1. History:

French Quarter in Hanoi mainly formed and developed during the French colonial period, from the early 20th century until the 1945.

French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
French Quarter in the past

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

French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
Hanoi Opera House in the past

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.

French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
Hanoi Opera House now

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

French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
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

French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
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 HistoryFrench Quarter - Hanoi Where to go

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

3.2. Restaurants:

La Terrasse Du Metropole 

French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
A Paris corner in the heart of Hanoi

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

French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
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

French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
Inside 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


French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
AMATO restaurant

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


French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
Serving places of Sen Restaurant (60 Ly Thai To 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

3.3. Shops:

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, 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

French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
Art pieces at Red Moon Gallery
  • Opening time: 10:00 – 18:00
  • Address: No.38 Trang Tien street

Thanh Bình Gallery

French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
Paintings of Artist Nguyen Thanh Binh
  • Opening time: 10:00 – 18:00
  • Address: No.25,27 Trang Tien street

Dong Phong Art Gallery

French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
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)

French Quarter - Hanoi Where to go
A colorful corner in Cho Hom market
  • 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.

How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay

How Many Days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay |[2018] For First-Time Visitor

Posted By : Hằng Nguyễn Thị/ 7 0

“How many days in Hanoi?” And “How many days in Ha Long Bay?”- are common questions Hanoi Free Local Tours get all the time from the travelers visiting Hanoi.

If you are new to Vietnam, you’re probably scratching your head wondering “how many days should I stay in Hanoi and Ha Long bay”?

We have all been there my friends. Don’t worry.

The North of Vietnam is full of beautiful places and activities – to visit and to do – that it seems intimidating to design a suitable itinerary.

We know that many of you want to visit not only Hanoi and Ha Long Bay as well.

Since then, you won’t have to worry about creating your Itinerary in Hanoi.


Let’s answer the question: “How many days do you need in Hanoi”?

How many days to visit Hanoi?

The question is – how many days do I need in Hanoi?

[opening_hours title=”” image=”” animate=””]Things to do in Hanoi[/opening_hours]

Worry not because today we’ll together design your perfect itinerary – so for next time – you can easily design a Hanoi itinerary on your own.


Let’s break it down.

How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
How many days to spend in Hanoi

Option 1: 2 Days in Hanoi

2 Days in Hanoi!? Seriously?

  • “It’s impossible.”
  • “It’s way too short.”
  • “I cannot experience everything out of Hanoi.”

You must be thinking that, huh?

Not so much.

It seems that two days is a little bit short – but it could be your optimal choice.

In fact…

There are a lot of tourists coming to Hanoi choose to visit Hanoi in 2 days.

In just 2 days, you might not visit every single corner, try all the amazing food at the bars and on the street.


You will experience the most popular, the most typical, must-try food and must-see attractions.

How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
St.Joseph Cathedral is a beautiful attraction in Hanoi.

A quick free city tour can give you an amazing experience.

The tour takes only one day.

You will visit the mystical Old Quarter with 36 streets and guides.

How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
A walking tour helps you experience the Old Quarter

You will not miss many beautiful attractions around the Old Quarter – St. Joseph Cathedral, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hoa Lo Prison, Ngoc Son Temple.

This kind of experience will be very brief, fast and exciting.

2 days will be your optimum choice if:

  • You want a quick, fast and exciting experience.
  • You want to visit places around Hanoi and mostly the Old Quarter.
  • Try a few popular and delicious – dishes and drink.
  • Your schedule’s tight.

Then you should go for a 2-day itinerary.

Get ready to have an exciting and fast-moving tour.

Let’s grab your belongings.

And just go.

How many days in Hanoi & Ha Long Bay
Sword Lake is the most popular attraction in Hanoi

Option 2: 3 Days in Hanoi

3 days in Hanoi?

You probably don’t know this but most of the tourist would go for a 3-day itinerary.

For the last 2 days, you’ve visited a lot of famous attractions around Hanoi.

But there’re more to see!

In day 3 you can experience most of the famous attractions around the Center of Hanoi – like Army Museum, Thang Long Imperial Citadel and Tran Quoc pagoda.

How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
Thang Long Imperial Citadel is a must-see in Hanoi

And if you still have some time

You must visit Bat Trang Pottery Village – to learn how to craft a beautiful pot on your own.

There are a lot of delicious dishes for you to try – like Banh Trang Tron, Banh Xeo, Banh Cuon.

How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
Banh cuon is a traditional dish of Hanoi

Again, go for a 3-day itinerary if:

  • You want to visit more attractions outside of the Old Quarter and around Hanoi.
  • Try more food around Hanoi.
  • Have more time to enjoy and relax.
How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
Tran Quoc Pagoda is a popular attraction.

Option 3: 4 Days In Hanoi

You have 4 days in Hanoi.

Now you have a decent amount of time here.

You can freely and calmly experience everything in Hanoi, enjoy the food, get some drink.

This time you don’t have to rush through all the attractions.

You can plan your last day to visit a few more attractions.

Suggestions are Perfume pagoda or Military Museum.

How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
A peaceful corner of Perfume Pagoda

Or if not…

You can just relax and chill.

Grab some beer and have a conversation with your partners in Ta Hien.

Go shopping around the Old Quarter and Dong Xuan market.

Because it is flexible, the experience will be less rushing and more of comfort and ease.

In short, 4 days if you want to:

  • Have a mildly calm and relaxing experience – no need to rush.
  • Have the flexibility in your schedule.
  • Finish the list of popular food in Hanoi – you must try them all.
  • Make time to go shopping in Hanoi before you leave.

So in conclusion.


How many days do you need in Hanoi?

Depends on personal preference. You can choose 2 days, 3 days or even 4 days.

Some have limited amount of time – some have a lot.

Some want to visit a lot of places outside of Hanoi – some just want to stay in the City.

Some favor the food, the activities, the products of Hanoi – some want to have a taste of other provinces.

Pick the plan that suits you.



What if you want to leave the crowd and the bustle of Hanoi

What to do then…

Just go to Ha Long Bay.


How Many Days in Ha Long Bay

Now, we all know that Ha Long Bay – the most beautiful attraction outside of Hanoi.

That’s right. It’s a must-see.

It’s a place far away from Hanoi.

“How many days should I spend in Ha Long Bay?” – you must be thinking

How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
“How many days in Ha Long?” is another question

Worry not then…

We will together design your perfect itinerary in Ha Long Bay.

Option 1: 1 Day in Ha Long Bay

Only 160 km away from Hanoi – it’s possible for you to visit Ha Long Bay in 1 day

You can find a one-day tour to Ha Long Bay everywhere.

How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Park is a fun and amazing place to have fun

You’ll get there by lunch. After that you can have lunch with delicious seafood dishes.

Once you get energy, why not get on a wooden junk and discover some of the amazing caves and islands, it’ll be epic.

Start the cruise trip to the center of the bay.

However, when should you make a 1-day itinerary in Ha Long Bay?

You should if:

  • Your time is limited.
  • You want to visit other places. Maybe you want to spend more time in Hanoi. Maybe you want to spend more time in Ninh Binh or Sapa.
  • You want to visit Ha Long Bay only.
How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
Cruising through Ha Long Bay

Option 2: 2 Days in Halong Bay

2 days in Ha Long Bay.

Now you have more time to spend here.

After the first day of visiting the Bay, you absorb all the glory of the scenery – the tastiness and freshness of the food.


We’re not done yet.

If you come to Quang Ninh – without visiting Tuan Chau Harbor – you will regret it.

For day 2, you’ll be visiting Tuan Chau Harbor, it has the most beautiful islands in Ha Long Bay.

Tuan Chau has one of the most beautiful islands in Quang Ninh.

Go to Sung Sot Cave to see the oldest and most beautiful stalacticles in Vietnam

You can enjoy the time with the locals living in Tuan Chau and learn about their culture.

There will be activities like volleyball, soccer, surfing waves with the locals – join with the people if you have some time.

When should you go to Ha Long Bay in 2 days? You should if you want to:

  • Discover attractions in Tuan Chau harbor.
  • Have a little bit time to relax, enjoy the food and the scenery.
  • Discover attraction outside of the Bay like Tuan Chau Harbor.
How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
Tuan Chau Habor – a must-see destination


How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
Sung Sot Cave has beautiful stalactites

Option 3: 3 Days in Ha Long Bay

3 days in Ha Long Bay.

After 160km of traveling – you just want a relaxing and calm experience

You’ve already experienced everything in Ha Long Bay.

And now?

You just want a calm and relaxing final day.

What can you do then?

You are into the weather, right? – You can enjoy your day swimming near Bai Chay Beach.

Getting a cyclo going through Bai Chay or a bike ride would be so fun and refreshing.

Want to keep some memory? Get some souvenirs and buy some products from Ha Long. You can shop at Ha Long Night Market – one of the biggest and most crowed night market in ha Long Bay

Or if you want to enjoy some street food? Go to Vuon Dao street to enjoy food on the sidewalk with the local

When should you go for a 3-day itinerary in Ha Long Bay?

You should if you:

  • Don’t have limited amount of time
  • Have a relaxing trip
  • Have one day to rest
  • Have time for shopping
  • Enjoy more activities in the evening
How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Night Market is the place you can buy souvenirs and products

You know what you can do with different itineraries.

To answer the question: “How many days in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay“? – It depends on your personal preference.

Some people have a short and limited amount of time—some have a lot

Some people want a quick and exciting experience—some want to relax and have fun

Find the one that suits you—to make the most out of your time here.

Plan it out.

Now you have your perfect itinerary

Let’s start.

And make it an amazing trip.

Author: Quentin Nguyễn.