Culture & Arts - April 22, 2018 | 07:03 am GMT+7

Antique treasures hidden in century-old French building in heart of Saigon

The architectural gem holds rare antiques which are strictly protected by the French government.

The French consul general’s heritage residence was built in 1872 at the corner of Nationale and Boulevard Norodom (now Hai Ba Trung- Le Duan in District 1). The building is surrounded by a 1.5-hectare stunning garden under the shades of trees that are more than a hundred years old.

Along the corridor of the house are marble-encrusted lacquer chairs and pottery furnishing items. Vincent Floreani, Consul General of France in HCMC, said they date back 100 years or more.

Some kitchen utensils such as tableware, glass, plate and fork are kept inside three glass cabinets at a corner of the corridor. The French brought these items when they set foot in the land of Saigon-Gia Dinh, former name of Ho Chi Minh City.

A lot of silver tableware, water bottles, glasses and soup pots are on display in two cupboards. Those carrying character “N” with a crown are from the Napoleon III era, while “GG” stands for Governor-General, “RF” for the French Republic and “CGF” for the consulate general of France.

The main living room is dedicated to banquets and receptions of the consulate general with a capacity of 80 people. Interior decorations reflect both eastern and western culture.

Two dining rooms are decorated with precious paintings, pottery furnishing items and sets of salon chairs that date back to the 1950s.

Antique items inside the building are amassed from different cultures such as Vietnam, China, India and France.

The 1.5-hectare garden has two old stone statues of Buddha, which are gifts of a French citizen.

The French building is only open to the public once a year to mark the European Heritage Days which fall on the third week of September.

Quynh Tran