The President Palace
The President Palace, built in 1901 and completed in 1906, at first played a role as the palace for the Indochina's General Governor Palace. Like many French colonial architecture of this time, it is wholeheartedly European in design, with the only hint of a Vietnamese presence is the mango garden that surrounds the building. The palace’s ground is designed symmetrically, with a big block in the middle and two blocks on either sides. The building is covered in yellow paint and the huge green gate still guards its entrance. At present, it is the office of the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Hotel Sofitel Metropole
Wherever you are in Ha Noi, someone will be able to point you in the direction of the Sofitel Metropole. A short walk from the Ha Noi Grand Opera House, this hotel was founded in 1901 and throughout the colonial years played host to a variety of international stars and politicians. The first five-star hotel in Ha Noi, Sofitel Metropole is a institution with its white and green color scheme outside and gorgeous period features inside evoking the elegance of Indochina days gone by.
Grand Opera House
Grand Opera House is located on the August Revolution Square, the center of Hanoi, near Hoan Kiem Lake and the Vietnam History Museum. The theatre, designed and overseen by the French, was constructed from 1901 and was finished in 1911. It marks a significant period in the history of architectural development in Vietnam under the French at the end of nineteenth century to early twentieth century. It is a historical witness of the Revolution of Hanoi.
It is not only a venue for art performances, but also a place for visitors to enjoy an almost 100 year old historical architecture.
Saint Joseph Cathedral
The church was built in 1886 following the Gothic architectural style of medieval Europe which was popular in the 12th century and the Renaissance. Saint Joseph Cathedral much resembled the Notre Dame Cathedral Paris with curved domes toward the sky. On the top of the church lies the huge stone cross. The church also owns a collection of western-made bells including four small and one very large bell which itself costs 20,000 francs to build at that time. It also has a giant clock which the alarm system linked to the five bells hanging on the two towers.
National Museum of Vietnamese History
The National Museum of Vietnamese History is a wonderful example of the work of Ernest Hebrard, a French architect who took up the role of the Indochina Architecture and Town Planning Service in 1923. Hebrard is known to be the first architect to use the existing Vietnamese Chinese-influenced style of architecture to create an arresting hybrid blend of styles known later as Indochine. Formerly home to the Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient in Vietnam, the Museum was completed in 1932 and features a distinctive ochre-coloured facade and features decidedly European gardens to the rear.
The Turtle Tower is another iconic work of Ha Noi, popular with domestic and foreign tourists. Turtle Tower, also called Tortoise Tower, is a small tower in the middle of Sword Lake. There is a legend associated with the tower.
This tower stands on a little island in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake. It was erected in 1886 on Turtle islet, the former fishing site under King Le Thanh Tong. Turtle Tower was built in the 19th century as a reminder of mystical happenings. The tower has three floors, and its ground floor was built in the 18th century. The other floors were built in 1884. This is seen as a place of sunshine, where turtles live and eggs are seen.