Top 10 Centenarian Works of French Architecture in Hanoi

By OneTrip | Hanoi Attractions

Nov 11

If Old Hanoi fascinates visitors with its wonderful thousand-year-old heritage engulfed in traces of time, then the capital also attracts with French carved appearance for nearly three-quarters of a century.

Civil, institution or religion, the colonial buildings of various styles and, over more than a century, coexist those contemporary in beautiful harmony. And this gives the city ​​of Hanoi a special charm, an architectural and urban heritage unique not only in Indochina but also in Asia.

What do we call today the Paul Doumer Bridge, the Louis Finot Museum, the Protectorate College and many other places full of recollection? Lovers of architecture and history, a tour of downtown Hanoi will certainly satisfy you.

The Opera of Hanoi (1901 – 1911)

The Opera of Hanoi (1901 - 1911)

Located at August Revolution Avenue, facing Trang Tien Street leading to Hoan Kiem Lake, this magnificent building stands out as one of the largest of the colonial era. Built-in 1901 and completed after ten years, it was the gathering of Western artists, symboling for the wealthiest. Adapting to the tropical characteristics, Harley and Broyer designed the Opera Garnier of Paris by evoking the colors and silhouettes of the operas of the South of France.

The Cathedral of Saint Joseph (1884-1887)

The Cathedral of Saint Joseph (1884-1887)


Reminding of Hanoi, we can miss one of the majestic monuments – the first Catholic cathedral built in Hanoi and still stands out as the most important in the city. Marked by the Western architecture of the twelfth century and the Renaissance, it is inspired by the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris with large arcades in front. The high place of Hanoi’s religion, this place is also a stop for pedestrians and tourists who find themselves to admire one of the oldest buildings in French architecture.

The National Museum of the History of Vietnam  (1926 – 1932)

The National Museum of the History of Vietnam  (1926 1932)
The National Museum of the History of Vietnam  (1926 1932)

The oldest of the national museums, the National Museum of the History of Vietnam, located at 1 Trang Tien Street, is inherited from the Louis Finot Museum, attached to the French School of Extreme East. One of the most visited of Hanoi, you may be attracted by exceptional collections of the material heritage of the country.

Designed by architects C.Batteur and E.Hébrard, it is a typical example of Indochinese architecture combining western and oriental styles. Despite a shape reminiscent of old Chinese buildings, its double roof represents the traditional Vietnamese style.

The Long Bien Bridge (1898-1902)

The Long Bien Bridge (1898-1902)
The Long Bien Bridge (1898-1902)

With more than 2 kilometers in length, this bridge spanning the Red River was the most imposing of Indochina in the nineteenth century, which can be seen in Daydé & Pillé – Paris, the name of the owner. Serving the war with a dozen bombing life, this old iron veteran lives secluded by quietly serving the capital’s trains and two wheels. Linking past and present, for Vietnamese, Long Bien Bridge is one of the best storytellers in nearly a century of stormy history of capital.

The National University of Vietnam, former University of Indochina (1923 – 1926)

The National University of Vietnam, former University of Indochina (1923 - 1926)
The National University of Vietnam, former University of Indochina (1923 – 1926)


Found at 19 Le Thanh Tong street, the building affected by Indochinese architecture is now the seat of the National University of Vietnam.  Considered as the first university institution founded by French in the country, the University of Indochina aimed to train senior intellectuals from the three countries of the region. Signed Ernest Hebrard, this imposing and charming construction is a highlight of the historical and architectural sites of Hanoi.

The State Bank of Vietnam, former bank of Indochina in Hanoi  (1875)

The State Bank of Vietnam, former bank of Indochina in Hanoi  (1875)


Former branch of the Indochina Bank was established in 1875 by the French President, the State Bank of Vietnam is located at the end of the Paul Bert Garden or current Ly Thai To Garden, in front of Hoan Kiem Lake. The building is represented by a most remarkable Art Deco style in Hanoi with some traditional touches raised by the ancient Vietnamese motifs.  The two other subsidiaries of the bank of Indochina remain in two major cities, Haiphong in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south, all of which attract a special architecture.

The Presidential Palace of Hanoi, the residence of the Governor-General of Indochina (1900 – 1906)

The Presidential Palace of Hanoi, the residence of the Governor-General of Indochina (1900 - 1906)

In the Top 13 most beautiful palaces in the world by the American magazine Architectural Digest, the Presidential Palace in Hanoi has used the residence of the Governor-General of Indochina. Located in the Rue La Republique or Hoang Van Thu today, facing the current Puginier Square or Ba Dinh Square, the work designed by Auguste Henri Vildieu invites you to admire the largest neoclassical landmark in Hanoi. , the most luxurious and expensive construction of its time.

Chu Van An College, former Protectorate College (1908)

Chu Van An College, former Protectorate College (1908)

Established by the French in 1908, Chu Van An College was one of the most beautiful of its kind, known as the Protectorate College. It was also called Buoi College by Vietnamese teachers and students for its location in Buoi Village. The building Bat Giac or the Octagon, Director’s residence is the first flag for the elegant architecture of the villa Schneider Manson bearing the name of the first owner. With the financial support of the Île-de-France region, this beautiful house was renovated and refurbished in 1999 to become a library.

The Dong Xuan Market (1890)

The Dong Xuan Market (1890)

In the heart of Hanoi’s old quarter, Dong Xuan Market is one of Hanoi’s most bustling markets, a great attraction since whose history goes back to the reign of the Nguyen dynasty. It was held outdoors until 1890 when the French began construction by installing the iron frame. The original architecture, despite the fire in 1994, has been respected as it is today. Since 2003, this place welcomed pedestrians to stroll around in the evening and discover the night market of Hanoi that connects Dong Xuan, Hang Dao to Hoan Kiem Lake. 

The headquarters of the daily newspaper Le Nouveau Hanoi, former hotel of the Future of Tonkin in Hanoi (1893)

The headquarters of the daily newspaper Le Nouveau Hanoi, former hotel of the Future of Tonkin in Hanoi (1893)

Just two minutes walking from Hoan Kiem Lake at 44 Ly Thai To Street, you can find one of the most beautiful French buildings dating from the late nineteenth century, it is a hotel of the Future of Tonkin in Hanoi. The modern structure of the New Hanoi is distinguished by its typical Art Nouveau appearance, very popular during the colonial period

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