A visit to French Consulate General in HCM City
The nearly-150-year-old building with three floors is home to the current French Consul General, Vincent Floreani. It has an elegant and simple exterior, and a sloping roof, which is a common characteristic of houses in Europe where snow falls in winter.
The spacious corridor, arched doors and windows are popular French architecture in the late 19th century, keeping the house airy and protecting it from rain and sunlight.
There are several wooden chairs encrusted with marble along the corridor. According to the French Consul General in HCMC, French people love to drink tea and play cards in the afternoon, so the patterns on the chairs imitate the hearts, diamonds, clubs and spade on the cards.
There are also some other valuable items arranged along the corridor, such as Vietnamese pottery pots or French kitchen utensils made of silver.
All of the items in the building are carefully marked and inventoried by the French Government.
The ground floor includes main and extra living rooms and dining rooms.
The main living room is where the French Consul General meets guests. It contains some French-style furniture like sofas and lamps along with Vietnamese items like Vuon Xuan (Spring Garden) painting by Nguyen Gia Tri and two wooden dressers made by Vietnamese artisans that have absolute symmetric structures.
Similarly, the grand dining room is a mixture of French and Vietnamese styles, with a French set of dining table and chairs together with a wooden screen featuring images of the former imperial city of Hue and chu Nom (a logographic writing system formerly used to write the Vietnamese language).
The upper floors are the French Consul General’s private living and working areas.
Notably, the staircase in the middle of the building was made from parts of French warships. French Consul General Vincent Floreani said this staircase is the one and only of its kind in Saigon and is the treasure of the building.
Covering 1.5 hectares, the French Consulate General in HCMC has the largest private garden in Vietnam, with many trees of more than 100 years old.
In the backyard, there is a swimming pool and two Buddha statues which are gifts from the boss of a now-closed theater in Saigon.
Located in the heart of HCMC, the French Consulate General in HCMC has an elegant French-style exterior
French Consul General Vincent Floreani stands next to the wooden screen featuring images of the former imperial capital of Hue in the grand dining room
Vincent Floreani said this staircase is the treasure of the building
One of two Buddha statues in the backyard