The Hanoi Old Quarter is renowned among both Hanoi residents and tourists as a well-known and sought-after location. Nevertheless, the large number of people can be exhausting and monotonous.
Therefore, let’s contemplate an alternative option.
In the nearby region recognized as Hanoi French Quarter, there are numerous captivating attractions waiting to be discovered. Ancient pagodas, traditional Vietnamese art, vibrant street markets, colonial architecture, embassies, government offices, and various other intriguing sights are still worth exploring. In this article, we will guide you through a journey of Hanoi French Quarter, providing you with essential information to ensure you have the most pleasurable vacation imaginable.
1. Overview of the French Quarter in Hanoi
Situated on the southeastern side of the renowned Hoan Kiem Lake, you’ll find Hanoi’s French Quarter. Similar to the bustling Old Quarter with its 36 streets, this area serves as a large and vibrant hub in downtown Hanoi.
True to its name, the French Quarter exudes a distinct French ambiance. During the late 19th century, when the French occupied Hanoi, they replaced many old Vietnamese structures in this vicinity with grand and imposing French houses and villas. Though the war has long ended, remnants of French influence still remain, hence its designation as the French Quarter.
While it may not enjoy the same level of fame as the Old Quarter, the French Quarter is certainly worth exploring due to its unique architectural style and delectable culinary offerings. Strolling through the streets, you’ll encounter numerous yellow-painted houses that boast a distinctive Parisian flair.
Considered the most upscale corner of Hanoi, the French Quarter boasts numerous five-star hotels and fine dining establishments. Additionally, you’ll find a plethora of charming cafes, bookstores, shops, and art galleries.
Due to its strategic location, the French Quarter serves as the focal point for several embassies, including those of Ireland and Italy. It is also home to various government buildings and a prosperous residential area, further enhancing its significance in Hanoi.
2. Attractions in Hanoi French Quarter
Due to the size of Hanoi’s French Quarter, you might be confused about where to go and what to do. So check out the list below and pick a few for your trip.
1. Hoa Lo Prison
Hoa Lo Prison is one of the most popular attractions in the French Quarter. Also known as the “Hanoi Hilton”, this is a notoriously famous prison that was used by the French colonial government and later by North Vietnamese fighters. During its long history, it became the birthplace of the Vietnamese Resistance and a major American prisoner of war camp.
Built in 1886, the prison housed hundreds to thousands of prisoners at a time. As time went on, more and more prisoners were sent here to live in this small, run-down facility. There are many thrilling torture methods, all of which are used to extract information from the soldiers here.
In order to let tourists and students understand the history of Vietnam, the government has turned it into a tourist attraction. When you come here, you will see a series of whips, shackles, and terrifying instruments of torture…
Address: 1 Hoa Lo St, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kien, Ha Noi
2. Trang Tien Plaza
Trang Tien Plaza is a high-end shopping center with many famous international brands such as Dior, Cartier, Bvlgari, Louis Vuiton,…
Built 120 years ago, the shopping center is impressive in typical French architecture. This oldest mall is conveniently located on the corner next to Hoan Kiem Lake.
With a total of 6 floors, it provides everything customers need, from clothes, shoes, electronics to food and beverages and more.
Address: 24 Hai Ba Trung St, Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
3. Vietnam National Museum of History
The Vietnam National Museum of History officially opened in September 1958. The museum is a living history book about Vietnam from prehistoric times to 1945.
The place covers an area of more than 2,200 square meters, and nearly 7,000 original cultural relics are preserved, and the main display system is arranged in chronological order. More than 100,000 specimens and cultural relics made of different materials, including many rare and precious cultural relics.
Some of the items on display even date back to ancient cultures, such as Cham sculptures, ancient ceramics, and Le Dynasty bronzes. New artifacts are also regularly updated to attract visitors to this museum. You only need to pay 40,000 VND per person (about 2 US dollars) to enter the Vietnam National Museum of History.
Address: 216 Tran Quang Khai St, Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem
4. Hanoi Opera House
Hanoi Opera House is one of the most attractive buildings among the yellow-painted buildings. Currently, this is the largest theater in Vietnam and is also considered an important historical and architectural landmark of Hanoi.
During the French colonial period, it was built for entertainment purposes. Ten years after it was built, it was the first time to come into contact with Western art and serve many Vietnamese theater troupes. Today, one can come here to enjoy all kinds of music, from opera and classical music to traditional theater and folk music.
If you have been to Paris, you can appreciate the influence of the Paris Opera House and Greek classical architecture on this building.
Address: 1 Trang Tien, Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
5. St. Joseph’s Church
Hanoi Cathedral is an outstanding architectural work in the French Quarter of Hanoi. Also known as the “Grand Cathedral”, it was one of the first architectural works constructed by the French colonists during their expansion into Indochina. The church has survived two wars against the United States and is still intact.
From a distance, St. Joseph’s Cathedral looks like a miniature version of the Cathedral of Our Lady, featuring Gothic Revival architecture. The best time to visit this beautiful church is during the weekend when Catholic services are held. Many Catholics living in Hanoi flock here to participate in this ceremony. All ceremonies are grand and solemn, with baptism and cleansing. After the tour, there are plenty of street food and drinks nearby for you to enjoy.
Address: Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
3. The best things to do in the French Quarter of Hanoi
1. Walking tour
Compared to Hanoi Old Quarter, the French Quarter is less crowded. This makes a walking tour to explore the area a good idea.
There are many tour operators in the Hoan Kiem district, so you can easily find the one that suits you best.
During the walking tour, you will be picked up and guided by friendly local guides, who are always ready to give you helpful insider tips. It will surely help you save a lot of time and learn more about interesting destinations.
Hanoi French Quarter walking tour usually takes you to different streets and famous attractions in the area, such as Hoan Kiem Lake, State Bank of Vietnam building, Hanoi Opera House, guest houses, etc. Sofitel Legend Metropolitan, Trang Tien, etc.
2. Enjoy lemon tea near St. Joseph’s Church
If you haven’t tried lemon tea in Hanoi before leaving, you’d be missing out. Unlike other countries, drinking lemon tea in Vietnam is a new experience. Most of the locals like to sit on the sidewalk, meet and chat with friends. Some people like to eat some street food. And, near St. Joseph’s Church is one of the most popular places to drink lemon tea. Sitting here, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the best views of the church and the crowded streets.
3. Visit an art gallery
Hanoi is not only the political and economic center of Vietnam, but also the center of contemporary art and local culture.
Are you curious about Vietnamese art?
In Hanoi’s French Quarter, there are many art galleries dotted around the area. To name a few excellent galleries, there are Thanh Binh, Red Moon and A Dong galleries. They are famous for their various collection of antiques and paintings by famous Vietnamese artists. There are many different types of painting, from landscapes to portraits. Materials are also very diverse, such as lacquered wood and canvas. If you’re looking to buy something for a friend, pretty paintings are a great idea.
4. Stroll along Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake is the symbol of Hanoi, so there is no reason to miss this place in your itinerary. The lake has a long history and special legends related to Excalibur.
Nowadays, Hanoians like to gather by this lake. For foreigners, there are many activities to participate in, such as playing some traditional Vietnamese folk games, dancing with local people, and listening to beautiful songs of local youth.
It is strongly recommended to come here on weekends. There are more locals here, and there are many places to explore Vietnamese culture.
4. Hanoi French Quarter vs Hanoi Old Quarter
Most tourists may confuse the French Quarter with Hanoi Old Quarter. Speaking of locations, both are located around Hoan Kiem Lake, but each occupy different sides. Apart from that, there are other major differences that you can easily spot. The Old Quarter of Hanoi can be said to be the most prosperous place in Hanoi, and of course it is more crowded than the French Quarter. The French Quarter has a calmer, contrasting vibe, with wider sidewalks and less traffic. The area has well-preserved colonial buildings and grand boulevards. Its architecture is very impressive and has a French character. On the other hand, the Old Quarter is more Vietnamese, with old houses and traditional Vietnamese dishes. All in all, each place has its own charm and you can definitely visit both places as the two areas are very close to each other.
5. Hostels and hotels in the French Quarter of Hanoi
There are many luxury hotels in Hanoi’s French Quarter, ideal for guests looking for a relaxing stay in the heart of Hanoi. When you stay at our top luxury hotels in the French Quarter, you’ll have easy access to art galleries, upscale shopping centers and famous colonial buildings.
Here are 10 recommended hotels to stay in Hanoi’s French Quarter, rated by Google:
1. The Oriental Jade Hotel
Address: 92-94 Hang Trong Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Price: From $130/night
2. Solaria Hotel
Address: 22 Bao Khanh St, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Price: From $70/night
3. La Sinfonía del Rey Hotel & Spa
Address: 33-35 Hang Dau, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Price: From $72/night
4. Bonsella Hotel
Address: 03 Bao Khanh Str | Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Price: From $42/night
5. Hanoi L’Heritage Diamond Hotel & Spa
Address: 17 Nha Chung, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Price: From $63/night
6. Apricot Hotel
Address: 136 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Price: From $102/night
7. Hanoi Pearl Hotel
Address: 6, Bao Khanh St, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Price: From $50/night
8. Dal Vostro Hotel & Spa
Address: 12 Bao Khanh St, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Price: From $50/night
9. San Boutique Hotel
Address: 24 Hang Hanh, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Price: From $30/night
10. Golden Sun Villa Hotel
Address: 68 Hang Trong, Hà Nội
Price: From $32/night
6. Restaurants in Hanoi French Quarter
Hanoi’s French Quarter is home to upscale restaurants and cafés, serving an international clientele authentic European, French and American dishes along with the region’s premium cocktails and wines. Luxurious surroundings. The restaurants here are also perfect for honeymooners and couples traveling to Vietnam looking for a romantic dining experience.
Some suggestions for places to eat in Hanoi’s French Quarter include:
1. Net Hue Restaurant Hanoi
Net Hue is a well-known restaurant chain located in the center of the capital, specializing in Hue specialties. This famous Hanoi restaurant has a colorful menu with Hue-inspired dishes such as Hue Beef Noodle Soup, banh Khoai, banh nam, … and more. In addition, the restaurant also serves hot pot dishes and dishes. Drinks prepared in the restaurant.
The branches of the Net Hue restaurant chain are easy to find. The interior design space is large and the decoration is exquisite. What adds to the restaurant is having fast, warm and friendly service staff. If you want to eat Hue cuisine, you must not miss Wangshun, which guarantees that you will be full.
- Address: 4th Floor, Thai Ha 34-36, Hanoi
- Reference price: 80,000 VND – 150,000 VND/person
2. Vietnamese Cuisine Restaurant
Located between Dinh Tien Hoang and Cau Go Street, with Cau Go Vietnamese Restaurant, you can enjoy the panoramic view of Hoan Kiem Lake from a height and the poetic outdoor space that is popular with tourists. Traditional dishes at this Hanoi restaurant are carefully prepared and decorated and served in a modern and luxurious open space. Cau Go brings a new experience of extreme comfort to domestic and foreign guests.
- Address: 9 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
- Reference price: 50,000 VND – 500,000 VND/person
3. Ngu Uyen Hanoi Restaurant
Ngu Uyen is a typical Hue gourmet restaurant in the center of the capital, offering a diverse menu with many dishes to choose from, such as Hue Beef Noodle Soup, Filter Cake, Nan Pan, Spring Rolls, Hue Rice. Probably the tastiest here is the famous Hue Beef Noodles. There are 3 different options for a bowl of vermicelli here: regular, full and special. The noodles are large and chewy, the beef slices are delicious, crispy and fragrant, the blood is firm and juicy, the pork legs are soft and rotten, and the soup is sweet and sour with the characteristic fragrance of fish sauce.
In addition to the salty dishes, the tea here is also delicious, which is suitable for the hot summer in Hanoi today. The store is located on the street near the sea, it is easy to find, the space is spacious, the wall is decorated with lotus flowers, and the shimmering Hue lights.
- Address: No. 5, Kim Dong Street, Giap Bat, Hanoi
- Reference price: 25,000 VND – 60,000 VND/person
4. Oven d’Or restaurant
Oven D’or Restaurant is located in the Sheraton Hanoi Hotel, arguably one of the most famous and high-quality five-star hotels in Hanoi, with a great location next to the romantic West Lake. .It is extremely suitable for luxurious dating of couples, family or company gatherings, and even important partner meetings. Coming to this Hanoi restaurant, diners can enjoy not only delicious and delicious meals, but also a very ideal and wonderful atmosphere.
In addition, coming to Oven D’or restaurant, guests will be delighted to enjoy buffet dinner or brunch at Sheraton Hanoi Hotel (Oven D’or restaurant), enjoying 10% discount on Vietnamese and Japanese premium and traditional dishes.
- Address: Sheraton Hotel, K5 Nghi Tam, Road, 11 Xuan Dieu Street, Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi
- Reference price: starting from 1,000,000 VND
5. Ngoc Mai Vang Restaurant
The next ideal place we would like to mention is Ngoc Mai Vang – a large top-notch buffet restaurant in Hanoi. The space design is luxurious yet intimate and spacious. This place is great for dining with family, friends, colleagues. Located on the 17th floor of the beautiful Ruby 44 Le Ngoc Han building, this is the place you can choose for a sumptuous party, offering hundreds of high-quality dishes from delicious barbecue dishes, nutritious soups to desserts provided by International Services.
- Address: 17th Floor, Ruby Plaza, Hai Ba Trung Le Ngoc Han 44, Hanoi
- Opening hours: 18:00 – 22:00
- Reference price: 150,000 VND – 400,000 VND
6. Jackson’s Steakhouse
Jacksons Steakhouse is the most popular European restaurant because of its sophisticated and luxurious European style. Although the space is small, it will not cause a sense of suffocation, and the harmonious combination with the yellow lights creates a warm feeling for family and friends to have dinner together.
The highlight here is that the glass windows are covered with cool green trees, bringing a cool and pleasant feeling. The layout of the table is harmonious and luxurious, although there are no partitions, it still creates a sense of privacy and no noise.
- Address: 23J Hai Ba Trung Ward, Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
- Opening hours: 10:00 – 21:30
- Reference price: 300,000 VND – 1,100,000 VND
7. Tips for visiting the French Quarter in Hanoi
Here are some helpful tips to help you enjoy your trip in the French Quarter.
- Keep an eye on your belongings when shopping in the area. Pickpocketing can happen in busy and crowded places.
- It is better to learn some Vietnamese sentences. They are very effective for bargaining.
- Bring a map if you don’t want to get lost.
- Plan your trip ahead of time so you don’t get lost in the maze of this busy city.
A visit to Hanoi French Quarter is a must for an amazing experience. From its stunning architecture to its delectable cuisine and cultural activities, this dynamic neighborhood provides a distinct combination of history and charm. The French Quarter has something for everyone, with luxurious lodgings, exquisite food, quiet cafés, and close access to embassies and government offices. Don’t miss out on exploring this important center while in Hanoi.