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.
The old day goes “ men build the house and women make it home”. It means that men are breadwinners who take charge of earning money and shoulder financial responsibilities in the family, while women are accountable for taking care of children, preparing meals for the family. However, Vietnamese women have to take more responsibilities than those. In addition to being a wife, a mother of the children they are a insufficient millitary source in wars against invaders, especially through the two fights against the French and America colonialism.
Vietnamese women’s museum is located in Ly Thuong Kiet street which is the most ancient and vibrant street in such a cosmopolitan city like Hanoi. The museum was constructed in 1987 and run by Vietnam Women’s union. It is the goal of the site to preserve and display various tangible and intangible historical and cultural heritage of Vietnamese women through the long-standing pathway of the history. Since being inaugurated in 1995, it has held a variety of exhibitions successfully and welcomed millions of international visitors from different nations on a yearly basis.
When it comes to the achievements that the museum has obtained, the most outstanding one that should not be mentioned is that it ranks 11th of 25 most popular museums in Asia voted by TripAdvisor with the meaningful message “ worth visiting, touching stories” in 2013. In addition, in continuous years, it holds one of the top tourist attractions of the capital, according to the recent statistics from the Tourism Department.
Vietnamese women’s museum was constructed in such a harmonious layout including two buildings a primary part, an inferior one and a cafeteria. The first impression that catches visitors’ eyes is the huge glass in front of the main gate. It is a stained glass divided into different cells with attractive colors that show the contents of the museum. Besides, it seems to be an effective way of emphasizing on the nature when the architectures utilized green trees and colorful flowers to take place of metal fence. Just a little detail is able to make tourists feel inspired and comfortable to enjoy quality time in the museum. It has four floors that are full with various books, items and subjects related to Vietnamese women.
If the outside of the museum brings tourists comfort, its interior makes them surprised and even takes their breath away because of its creative design. Standing in the first floor, there is a statue named “Mother of Vietnam” which is the symbol of the museum. The woman is holding her baby on her shoulder and her right hand is putting down at her feet, which means to be a shield to protect her child. This image represents for Vietnamese women with respected characteristics. Being a wife, a mother, they appear to be a flame heating the unconditional family love. Looking up to the ceiling is an interesting fun. There is a great number of the colorful conical leaf hats that are the symbol of Vietnamese women hanging on the ceiling. The museum often is renovated and redesigned accordance with each collection so that visitors feel like they are in a scene of the movie. Furthermore, other floors cover over 1000 items and diverse images. Only by seeing these exhibits can visitors portray vividly the appearance of Vietnamese women with their feats, sacrifice and their loss for our nation’s independence and reunification.
Women’s museum has three main themes: women in the family, women in history and women’s fashion. On the second floor, we can gain deeper understanding about women in the family ranging from wedding ceremonies, wedding costumes for women of all regions to the local rituals and customs related to women. There are some ethnic groups adapting the parental line of descent while others accept maternal line of descent. Despite the difference between groups in the family system, the procedures of wedding seem similar to some extent. The wedding normally consists of three parts: espousal, wedding and returned ceremony. It is interesting to note that for several ethnic groups, the more the amount of dowry is, the higher level of respect and love in husband’s family is. Next to the room displaying exhibits about wedding, there is a place to display the process of pregnancy with unique things of each group own such as a couple’s bedroom of the Black Thai ethnic and the ring called praying for having child. Additionally, the organization of family also depicts thoroughly through exhibits associated with various activities like hunting, planting, trafficking, and so on.
The third floor focuses on the topic of women in history. it is the site to reminisce the life stories of heroic females who delicated the whole life to the Resistance war against invaders. You will be surprised to see memorabilia in here that is the most justified proof of creativity, iron willpower and ingenuous romance of Vietnamese women even in the wars, typically the vase from shells, militia platoon, etc… there are also various pictures of heroic Vietnamese mothers whose husband, children sacrificed bravely, heroically. They had to hide countless hurt in the introverted soul and continued to fight. They are so so great!!!.
The forth floor is for women’s fashion. It shows clearly percise skills of vietnamese women in the craftsmanship. They produced sewing, art pattern, embroidery, making jewellery art and makeup art deriving from ethnic groups in the north mountainous area. Besides, it is interesting for tourists to learn more about the unique traditional customs of betel chewing and teeth staining. The museum also holds different exhibitions about various different topics such as “Mau” creed whom the Vietnamese worship for with a view to wishing the best and praying for their family, especially for their children. You have chance of discovering some folk songs, dances and special costumes in the form of worshipping.
Adjacent to the main hall and courtyard, the first floor is also the place to display a wide range of exhibitions according to topics reflecting contemporary life, raising the voice of society and exchanging the cultures between countries, for example, the Japanese doll exhibition with excellent and precise handmade dolls. It brings the museum brand-new leaf and an opening life. Not only taking place some exhibitions and events, does the museum hold traditional musical programs that attract many international tourists as well. Thanks to performing these programs, while tourists outside Vietnam can broaden their horizons about this type of art, Vietnamese people in particular young generations put emphasis on preserving the national conventional traditions and identity. Besides assimilating into multicultural world, they also should protect traditional values and develop them non-stop.
Attaching importance to creativity and practicing, the museum has opened discovery room in the aim of teaching children aged from 7 to 15 years. With modern and quality facilities, this room would facilitate children to nurture and foster their creativity, soft skills and expand their social relationships. There are both Vietnamese and English books, stories about women, children and other diverse topics sponsored from many bookshops, funds. Children are taught to make craftworks, conceal leaf hats and draw pictures of their own.
Vietnamese women’s museum appears to be a colorful magazine vividly replaying all aspect of life of Vietnamese women. It makes a significant contribution to convey meaningful messages to the youth about the respected qualities of women. It also helps to broaden our horizons about national heritage and traditional values of Vietnamese women.