The French left their mark in Hanoi like nowhere else in the world. Bicycles, berets and baguettes have become ubiquitous symbols of the city, and whispered conversations in French are not uncommon amongst the more educated older city inhabitants. But nothing exemplifies Hanoi’s French history like the gorgeous architecture, from humble terraced shop houses to grand detached mansions.
Perhaps the most fascinating of all, colonial architecture in Vietnam visually reflects changes in architectural tastes, from the intricate patterns of Neo-Classicism in the 19th Century to the bold simplicity of Art Deco after the 1st World War. Some buildings have suffered greatly over the past 100 or so years of war and neglect, whereas others are as brilliant now as they were a century ago. Fortunately, our Ngon Villa belongs to the latter category.
Built in 1889 for a French army captain, our Ngon Villa magnificently reflects this fascinating period of Vietnam’s history. The structure itself is a blend of French style and Vietnamese building techniques, using red brick for the walls and a bamboo base to provide a natural cooling system.
The building was later sold to Mr. Dinh Le, a wealthy Vietnamese trader, who used it as his own private residence before the house was appropriated by the government of North Vietnam in 1945. Just like many other large colonial mansions, the property was split and divided amongst 5 separate families with shared spaces.
Today, the house has been sympathetically restored to its former grand glory to showcase Vietnam’s finest cuisines in a historical and elegant landmark.
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