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Traces of time in Saigon’s century-old high school

By Thanh Nguyen   May 14, 2017 | 10:28 pm PT
The school, named after two-time Nobel prize winner Marie Curie, keeps most of its original features after decades of change.

From the time it was opened in 1918 to 1970, Marie Curie was known as an elite school for female students of French and wealthy Vietnamese families. The private, all-girls school taught all subjects in French.


A bust of Marie Curie at the school. The Polish-French physicist and chemist was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and one of the very few to win two. While most other schools built by the French around the city have been renamed over the years, this lycée in District 3 has stayed the same.


Standing on an area of 21,000 square meters (5.8 acres) with eight classroom blocks, the entire school shows the distinctive imprint of French architecture on its gate, garden, classroom doors and fountain.


The French style is still there on the wall.


…and along the porch.


The old staircases are well-preserved.


A water tower in the school.


Taking male students from 1970, Marie Curie was once the biggest co-ed high school in Vietnam with more than 5,000 students each year.


Marie Curie is now a public school with 3,500 students.


In 2015, it was recognized as a heritage site. One of its eight classroom blocks is waiting for a renovation plan.

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