Photo: Passing by the National Museum of Vietnamese History in the leafy French Quarter.

The French Quarter

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If you need a break from the chaos of Old Quarter, wander down to Hanoi’s French Quarter, where wide open streets, majestic buildings and high-end hotels, restaurants and shops await.





The French Quarter lies to the southeast of Hoan Kiem lake and has an atmosphere far more refined than the mercantile 36 streets of the Old Quarter. In the late 19th century, when the French occupied Hanoi, they demolished many of the old Vietnamese buildings and replaced them with imposing and quite stunning French-style villas, particularly in this area, well into the 1900s. As well as the architecture, the quarter is characterised by wide tree-lined streets which, while still busy with traffic, are easier to navigate than the narrow alleys of Old Quarter. The area is also home to some of Hanoi’s ritziest restaurants and hotels.

Seeing the French Quarter by cyclo is an option. Photo taken in or around The French Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam by Samantha Brown.

Seeing the French Quarter by cyclo is an option. Photo: Samantha Brown

Start at the statue of Ly Thai To, just to the east of the lake. From there, walk east along Le Thach Street and at the end of the street you’ll find the beautiful Art Deco-style State Bank of Vietnam building. Turn right onto Ngo Quyen and the government guesthouse, previously the Building of the Governor of Tonkin (North Vietnam) and the Government Building of Vietnam, is on the right. A small park lies opposite and here you will usually find a number of cyclo drivers vying for business. Hop on if you’re not in a walking mood.

The renovated exterior of the 1901-built Metropole. Photo taken in or around The French Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam by Samantha Brown.

The renovated exterior of the 1901-built Metropole. Photo: Samantha Brown

Next to the park is the famous Sofitel Metropole Legend Hotel, built in 1901. If you’re feeling flush, stop off for a drink or a spot of shopping at its high-end outlets. The hotel is a popular spot for wedding photos and you can create your own memories with some posing by the classic cars and cyclos parked ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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