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Hanoi, Saigon in the 80s through a French lens: beauty lies in simplicity

By Hoang Phuong   May 17, 2016 | 11:47 pm PT
Following the war, Vietnam was beset by poverty in the 80s: no skyscrapers, no luxury hotels and no high-class services. Vietnam charmed foreigners with it simple beauty, of which one French journalist and photographer said: "I can immerse in that joyful simplicity and never get bored".

Working as an AFP journalist from 1976 to 2006, Michel Blanchard was bureau chief in Hanoi from 1981 to 1983. He has continued to visit Vietnam since then to write for travel guides.

"When I look at the pictures I took in Vietnam, I can still sense the scent of the country," he said.


"At that time, bicycles were the main form of transport, and I rarely saw a motorbike on the streets."


Thien Quang Lake.


Ho Tay in the 80s.


A war invalid on Cha Ca Street in Hanoi.


Michel's neighbor was taking bath. The photo was taken in 1982.

"Hanoi was beautiful. You could get pictures of people smiling every time you took a photo."


Father and son at Hoan Kiem Lake.

"Tet was a very special occasion with flowers everywhere. I could see the excitement on people's faces."


Tet in Hanoi.


Tet in Saigon.


Lam Son Square in Saigon. The photo was taken in 1983.


A poster on the street in 1982.

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