Recently I posted a blog about architect and city planner, Ernest Hebrard, and his impact on the architectural landscape of Hanoi, during his 1920s posting in the city.
In this video, I take a walk around an area of Hanoi that’s become known as the French Quarter. That’s not an official designation, more an invention of the travel industry I suspect.
The area is home to many of Hanoi’s most iconic examples of colonial architecture, including the Opera House, the National History Museum, The Metropole Hotel, and lesser known buildings like the State Bank, the Science University and the former Pasteur Institute.
In the Hebrard blog, I mentioned that the National History Museum, the University of Science and the former Pasteur Institute were all designed by him. And that these buildings are excellent representations of the Indochine architectural style that fused French and Asiatic styles.
The State Bank building takes that style in a new direction with strong art deco features, as well as the overbearing grandiosity prized by financial institutions. During colonial times, this was the Bank of Indochina.
This is an easy area to walk in (unlike the Old Quarter which tends to be hell) - and was even manageable on a 38 degree July day thanks to the tree cover.
The “French Quarter” is definitely not the only place for walking in Hanoi. Nor is it home to all of the city’s dramatic colonial era architecture.
I’ll soon be adding a walk through the Old Quarter to Ba Dinh Square that will showcase more colonial as well as local architecture and local life.