We took a self guided tour of the French Quarter. The French quarter is notably different from the rest of Hanoi. The streets are wider and lined with larger trees. Although it is still very busy with a lot of traffic, it feels more peaceful than the rest of the city as you walk around.
We started at a statue of Ly Thai To. In 1010 he was the first emperor of Vietnam, which is noted as the beginning of Ly dynasty. The paved area in front of the statue is used as a playground. Kids of all ages were riding/rolling on the pavement. They roller blade, skate board, ride hover boards and motorized mini cars everywhere!
Once we dodged all of the children, we saw Vietnam’s National Bank and the government guest houses. Next up was a famous French-style hotel in the area, The Sofitel Metropole Legend Hotel, established in 1901.
Just a few blocks further along we found the Opera House. The building is quite large and lovely from the outside. We even saw a bride and groom taking wedding pictures on the steps.
We went into The National Museum of Vietnamese History. It covered Paleolithic through the communist revolution; seeing Bronze Age relics from a non-Greek culture is interesting.
For dinner we went to Cha Ca La Vong a very old family restaurant in Hanoi. It serves fried fish from the red river as it’s only fish. You mix the fish with fresh greens, rice noodles and peanuts to your own taste. We thought it was delicious.