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.
But there is much more than Phở. You might be suprise with different type of noodle in Hanoi.
You might fall in love with the Hanoi’s Cuisine.
A. Phở – Rice noodle
A.1. What is phở?
Phở is a kind of rice noodle, made by steaming rice batter into thin sheet and then cut them into strand, is thin, flat, and white compared to other types of Vietnamese noodle.
A.2. Phở Bò (Beef Rice Noodle)
Pho Bò Hanoi(Beef Noodle Soup)
Mentioning Hanoi Pho, the most common type of phở can be thought of is phở bò, beef noodle soup. Considering the best bowl of phở bò, several things are counted: the translucency of the soup, the quality of the beef and the thinness of the noodle. Above all is the perfect seasoning of saltiness, sourness from lemon and sweetness from the bone-stewed broth. Phở can also be eat with quẩy (fried bread).
Adding chili, fish sauces, lime and other herbs can amazingly increase the flavor of phở and therefore can give you a full experience of Hanoi’s the most representative food.
Phở Thìn, 13 Lò Đúc Street – 5:00am to 9:00pm
Phở Tư Lùn, 23C Hai Bà Trưng Street – 6:00am to 9:30pm
Phở Lâm, 48 Hàng Vải Street – 6:00am to 10:00am
*Phở Lâm is famous for Soup Beef Heel Muscle Noodle.
Phở Bò Xào (Stir-fried Beef Noodle)
If noodle soup is too familiar with you, let’s try the stir-fried version, which is also comparably fantastic! This is the new taste of Pho Hanoi.
Stir-fried beef phở has the same ingredient as the soup version, but without the broth and is cooked by frying those ingredients.
Herbs, chili and lime can also be added, but merely optional
Pho xao Phu My, 45B Bát Đàn Street.
A.3. Phở gà
If you don’t like beef or you can eat beef, why don’t you give a try with Pho ga (Chicken Noodle soup). Pho Hanoi is also famous for this type of Pho.
Also consists of noodle, broth and meat, phở gà is different with chicken. In using chicken and its bone to create the broth, phở gà is somehow more delicate and light in flavor.
Interestingly, famous phở gà restaurants usually open at night, from 7:00pm to 11:00pm.
We’ve just been through Pho Hanoi, then What is more than Pho Hanoi?
B. Bún – Rice Vermicelli
B.1. What is bún?
Bún is also a type of rice noodle, but more round in form, like sticks.
B.2. Bún Chả (Grilled Pork Noodle)
Bún chả is served with grilled fatty pork (chả) over a plate of white rice noodle (bún) and herbs with a side bowl of sour, sweet and salty dipping sauce. The indescribable harmony of sourness, sweetness and saltiness of the sauce with the deep seasoned grilled pork, and also with light austerity of the rice vermicelli promises to be a unforgettable taste once tried.
Crispy grilled pork with sour and sweet saucy, with the austere white rice vermicelli stand for the signature elegance and delight in Hanoi food.
74 Hàng Quạt Street (in a small alley), 10:00am to 2:00pm
34 Hàng Than Street, 10:00am to 4:00pm
67 Đường Thành Street, 10:000am to 8:00pm
B.4. Bún Thang
Bún thang is a slightly sweet noodle soup infused with the taste of stewed shrimp. A bowl of bún thang contains many colors working a harmony: the white tangled vermicelli sets off the red of the shrimp, the pink of sliced pork paste, the yellow of sliced fried eggs, cleaved chicken, salty egg yolk, and the green of fragrant knotweed and basil.
The attractive look of bún thang, like colorful blossoming flower, with the light touch of shrimp sauces leaves you an amazing experience of the Hanoi elegant taste.
Apart from Pho Hanoi, Bun Thang is also regarded as the traditional Hanoi food.
Bún đậu mắm tôm, shortly called as bún đậu, has 3 main ingredients: rice vermicelli noodle, fried tofu and fermented shrimp paste, also optionally with boiled pork and chả cốm, Vietnamese jaded-rice sausage.
If you don’t want Bun or Pho Hanoi for your food anymore, since they have been introduced to you several times.
Why don’t you taste Miến?
C.1. What is miến?
Miến is made of mung bean, or Canna edulis
It’s first gray, stiff in shape and opaque but turn transparent and stretchy after cooked.
Besides cooking a bowl of miến,miến is also used as an ingredient in making spring rolls. Compared to other kind of noodle, the stickiness of miến makes Vietnamese dishes really appetizing and interesting.
C.2. Miến Lươn (Eel Glass Noodle)
Miến lươn nước (Eel glass noodle soup)
Miến lươn nước simply has 3 main ingredients: fried eel, glass noodle and broth. However, the amazing broth of miến lươn nước with hành dăm, a Vietnamese special herb leave you a light but memorable taste of seafood.
Although not as famous as other noodle dishes, miến lươn promises to be an memorable tasty experience in your Hanoi food’s collection
Miến lươn xào (Stir-fried eel glass noodle)
Miến lươn xào is a stir frying version of miến lươn nước. With interesting combination of sour pickled cucumber, fried onion, and eggs with glass noodle and eel, miến lươnxào is also a dish you should not miss when visiting Hanoi.
Miến lươn trộn (Mixed eel noodle)
Miến lươn trộn, also comprise of noodle and eel, is special for the amazing sour and sweet sauce that is used to mix with noodle and eel. With pickled cucumber and other Vietnamese special herb, this dish is also in your should-not-miss food list when coming to Hanoi.
1 Chân Cầm Street, 7:00am to 10:00pm
87 Hàng Điếu Street. 87:00am to 10:00pm
*Price:40.000 ≈ 60.000 VND (2 ≈ 3 USD)
Take your time, Pho Hanoi is not the only special dish in Vietnam.
Take several days in Hanoi, you might be amazed with the attractiveness of the food in Hanoi, especially Hanoi noodles – a beauty of Vietnam.
When visiting Hanoi, every foreign visitor often goes to such very famous places as The Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, Hoan Kiem lakeBut now, I will introduce you a destination that you don’t often go: Long Bien Bridge.
On visiting Long Bien Bridge, you will be impressed by its antiquity and the sencenery around. Being constructed from 1898 to 1902, Long Bien Bridge is the first bridge to cross the Red river, the biggest river in the north of Vietnam. With 2290 m in length, 19 spans, it was designed by French engineers; so, it is also called “Eiffel tower” of Vietnam. More than a century has gone by, overcoming so many ups and downs, Long Bien Bridge is still wonderful with values of time. It serves the trade between the two ends, helps people a lot in transportation.
HISTORY ABOUT LONG BIEN BRIDGE
In the war period, Long Bien Bridge was the shelter of Vietnamese soldiers. It protected the brave ones from bullets of the enemy. Therefore, it was in heavy demolition and until 1973, it was restored. Long Bien Bridge is also the place to welcome the soldiers to come back from the two pointless wars against France and the USA. Thus, to those soldiers, it is not just a bridge, it is the witness and memories of the glorious historical period.
LONG BIEN BRIDGE AT PRESENT
Nowadays, Long Bien Bridge is a very interesting place for strolling and sightseeing. You can easily see many corns and vegetable fields under the bridge, breathe fresh air and take many photographs with the romantic view. Besides, you can go to the Red river rock shore near there to see the beauty of the flowers. Whenever you visit there, you can easily be impressed by the beautiful flower fields. In the spring, the peach blossom makes you feel warmer to reach Tet holiday. In the summer and autumn, there are landmasses of white blooming reeds. It is so beautiful and romantic. If you visit in the winter, you can immerse in the yellow color of borecoles.
In general, Long Bien Bridge is a very fascinating place to visit when you come to the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi. Welcome you!