French Quarter Hanoi: Where history, culture, and architecture converge

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Unique French Architecture in Hanoi's French Quarter

Unique French Architecture in Hanoi’s French Quarter (Source: Collected)

The French Quarter Hanoi is a captivating place in the city known for its charming blend of Vietnamese and French influences. With its stunning colonial architecture, bustling streets, and vibrant atmosphere, the French Quarter Hanoi offers a unique experience for visitors. From exploring historic sites to indulging in delicious local cuisine, this district is a must-visit destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in the cultural richness of Hanoi.

1. A quick glance at French Quarter Hanoi Vietnam

1.1. Where is French Quarter Hanoi? When was it established?

Situated southeast of the renowned Hoan Kiem Lake, the French Quarter Hanoi serves as a bustling hub in the city center.True to its name, the French Quarter in Hanoi exudes a distinct French ambiance. 

During the late 19th century, Hanoi was under French occupation, leading to the transformation of traditional Vietnamese structures into remarkable French-style houses and villas in this place. 

Though the war has ended, remnants of French influence persist, earning the area its name as the French Quarter. While not as renowned as the Old Quarter, the French Quarter in Hanoi is a hidden gem that deserves a visit. 

Exploring the streets of this district, you’ll come across charming yellow-painted houses reminiscent of the iconic Parisian style, adding to the area’s distinctive appeal.

The French Quarter is an attractive destination for visitors interested in French architecture

The French Quarter is an attractive destination for visitors interested in French architecture (Source: Collected)

1.2. How do French Quarter Hanoi and Hanoi Old Quarter differ?

The French Quarter Hanoi and Hanoi Old Quarter are distinct sections of the city. While both are located around Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter is concentrated in the North and West, while the French Quarter is in the South and East. 

The French Quarter offers a more spacious atmosphere, with wider roads, convenient for traffic, while the Old Quarter exudes a Vietnamese vibe with ancient houses and traditional food. Hanoi’s allure lies in its blend of ancient and French architecture, creating a captivating atmosphere that reflects its rich history and modernity.

The houses in the French Quarter bear the marks of time

The houses in the French Quarter bear the marks of time (Source: Collected)

>>>The French Quarter and the Old Quarter in Hanoi, Vietnam capital, offer contrasting atmospheres and architectural styles. 

2. What to see in French Quarter Hanoi on your trip?

2.1. Vietnam National Museum of History

The Vietnam National Museum of History provides a comprehensive exploration of the nation’s past and showcases its rich cultural heritage through a diverse range of relics, exhibitions, and displays. It is a must-visit for history and culture enthusiasts on the French Quarter Hanoi walking tour. 

  • Address:
    • Facility 1: 1 Trang Tien, Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
    • Facility 2: 216 Tran Quang Khai, Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 12 PM and 1:30 PM to 5 PM daily, except for the first Monday of the month.
  • Ticket fees:
    • Adults: 40,000 VND (approx. 1.7 USD)
    • College/University students: 20,000 VND (approx. 0.9 USD)
    • High school students: 10,000 VND (approx. 0.4 USD)
    • Children under 6 years and disabled individuals: Free entry.
The National Museum of History is a must-visit destination when traveling to Hanoi

The National Museum of History is a must-visit destination when traveling to Hanoi (Source: Collected)

2.2. Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison offers visitors the chance to delve into the historical context of French war crimes, making it an ideal destination for those interested in Vietnam’s heroic past and paying homage to the courageous Vietnamese soldiers.

Hoa Lo Prison, known as “Hell on Earth,” was a site of perversion where thousands of Vietnamese revolutionaries were imprisoned, tortured, and some executed. Inside, visitors are with a disturbing array of torture instruments. 

Its notoriety ranks among the world’s top 10 prisons, evoking a chilling sense of horror through vivid depictions of beatings and barbaric acts.

  • Address: No. 1, Hoa Lo, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Opening hours: from 8 AM – 5 PM every day
  • Ticket fees: 30,000 VND
Hoa Lo Prison - Historical Remnants in the Heart of Hanoi

Hoa Lo Prison – Historical Remnants in the Heart of Hanoi (Source: Collected)

2.3. Hanoi Opera House

The Hanoi Opera House has become a popular tourist attraction, attracting a large number of domestic and international visitors. Since the French colonial era, the Hanoi Opera House has hosted significant historical events. 

Constructed in 1901 by French architects Broyer and V. Harley, its design blends ancient Greek architecture from Corinth with elements of Tulory Castle and the Paris Opera. Standing at 34 meters tall with a total area of 2600 square meters, it features a grand main hall, a striking T-shaped white marble staircase, and a magnificent auditorium with three seating floors and a stage. 

The building also houses the “Mirror Room,” make-up rooms, training rooms, a library, and working spaces. Today, visitors can purchase tickets to attend a diverse range of events, including local Vietnamese music, traditional folk performances, and international concerts.

  • Address: No. 1 Trang Tien, Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Ticket fees:
    • Tickets for sightseeing: 120,000 VND/ 70 minutes/ visit, with a maximum of 20 visitors at a time
    • Tickets for sightseeing and watching Hanoi Opera House performances on Mondays and Thursdays:  400,000 VND/90 minutes/visit, with a maximum of 250 visitors.
The Hanoi Opera House - an Iconic Architectural Landmark in Vietnam

The Hanoi Opera House – an Iconic Architectural Landmark in Vietnam (Source: Collected)

2.4. St. Joseph’s Cathedral

Located in the heart of downtown Hanoi, St. Joseph’s Cathedral is a must-visit tourist attraction that offers insights into Vietnamese history, culture, and religion through its rich history and distinctive architecture. 

St. Joseph’s Cathedral, designed in the European medieval Gothic style, bears resemblance to Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. However, it possesses a unique blend of Catholic and Buddhist influences. Constructed with brick and terracotta, the cathedral stands 65 meters tall, 28.5 meters wide, with two bell towers reaching 31.5 meters high. 

Visitors can engage in various activities at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, including attending Christmas and weekend Catholic ceremonies, witnessing priests’ biblical readings and explanations, and participating in Catholic baptisms.

  • Address: the junction of Nha Chung, Ly Quoc Su and Nha Tho streets
  • Opening hours:
    • On weekdays (Monday to Friday), the attraction operates from 9:30 AM to 9:30 PM.
    •  On weekends (Saturday – Sunday), the operating hours are from 9:30 AM to 10:00 PM.
  • Ticket fees: free 
St. Joseph's Cathedral Hanoi - discover the most beautiful ancient church in the capital

St. Joseph’s Cathedral Hanoi – discover the most beautiful ancient church in the capital (Source: Collected)

2.5. Trang Tien Plaza

With over a century of existence, Trang Tien Plaza stands as a historical testament and a symbolic image when mentioning Hanoi. Originally known as Maison Godarad, this building was constructed by the French in 1901, catering exclusively to affluent Vietnamese and French clientele. 

In 1960, it was renamed Bách hóa tổng hợp (Department Store) and became the largest store in the North during the subsidy period. In 2002, it was rebranded as Trang Tien Plaza, a name it still bears today. 

In 2013, Trang Tien Plaza transformed into a prestigious shopping destination, featuring over 200 international brands in fashion, cosmetics, bags, shoes, and accessories. Renowned names like Versace, Cartier, and Rolex, along with legendary brands like Burberry and Chanel, grace its halls. 

  • Address:  24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Opening hours:
    • On weekdays (Monday to Friday), the attraction operates from 9:30 AM to 9:30 PM. 
    • On weekends (Saturday – Sunday), the operating hours are from 9:30 AM to 10:00 PM.
  • Ticket fees: free
Trang Tien Plaza - Explore Hanoi's Premier Shopping Center

Trang Tien Plaza – Explore Hanoi’s Premier Shopping Center (Source: Collected)

>>> Check out Hanoi things to do for an unforgettable trip! 

While exploring French Quarter Hanoi, don’t miss out on these must-see attractions in Vietnam’s capital city: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, Temple of Literature, Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural, One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi Museum, Ta Hien Street, Tran Quoc Pagoda, and especially VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium Times City.

VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium

VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium

>>> Remember to book tickets of VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium for more fun on your trip to Hanoi!

Apart from the French Quarter Hanoi, there are numerous other destinations in Vietnam that you should definitely explore, including: Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang.

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French Quarter Hanoi stands as a captivating district that embodies the harmonious fusion of Vietnamese and French influences. Its charming architecture, bustling streets, and vibrant atmosphere create an unforgettable experience for visitors. From exploring historic sites to savoring delicious cuisine, the Hanoi French Quarter offers a unique glimpse into the cultural tapestry of this remarkable city. Discover the allure and enchantment of the French Quarter Hanoi, where the past and present coexist in perfect harmony.

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