Vietnam Tourism–This French colonial building was originally the living and working headquarters for the Governor General of Indochina. After Vietnam’s defeat of the French in 1954, Ho Chi Minh refused to live here, preferring instead the modest cottage on the Palace’s grounds (from 1954 to 1958). In 1958, he moved into the house on stilts.
When Vietnam achieved independence in 1954, Ho Chi Minh refused to live in the grand structure for symbolic reasons, although he still received stateguests there, and he eventually built a traditional Vietnamese stilt house and carp pond on the grounds. His house and the grounds have been made into the Presidential Palace Historical Site in 1975.
This bright mustard building, though a French colonial building, bears a resemblance to Italianate Renaissance and Baroque palaces. The second floor (the piano nobile) is the important formal floor with a grand stairway leading to the arched portal. Quoins, broken pediments, elaborate columns, and aedicules with balustrades are common in architecture of the 16th and 17th century in Italy.
During Ho Chi Minh’s leadership, the palace was used, however, for meetings and to house guests; today it is used for formal and important government meetings.
Presidential Palace, Hanoi.
How to go to Presidential Palace
The best way to reach the Presidential Palace from the Ho Hoan Kiem is by taxi, since it is quite a distance to walk (even though in fact you can walk). Using the Ho Hoan Kiem as the starting point, go west along Hang Khay Street. It becomes Trang Thi Street. Eventually you reach a split; the right branch is Dien Bien Phu Street. Take that street, crossing the railway track and continuing on until you see the Army Museum on your right, and the triangular park on your left. The Lenin statue is quite visible on the park. Continue along Dien Bien Phu Street, and it eventually leads you to Ba Dinh Square. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is in front of the square. Next to the mausoleum is the Presidential Palace.