Red Corner: Parisian Cafe in Communist Vietnam

Long before Vietnam turned communist and even before the Americans arrived to try and change their minds, the South East Asian country was run by the French.

In 1901, the luxurious Metropole Hotel was built in Hanoi to cater to the local French contingent as well as the many other expats frequenting the country at the time. In the last century, it has played host to Charlie Chaplin, Mick Jagger, Graham Greene and many other luminaries.

The famous sidewalk café which once graced this “little Paris of the tropics,” however, was shut down in 1911. Today, it has finally reopened. “La Terrasse du Metropole” re-injects a bit of the old country back into a Vietnam that still enjoys berets, baguettes, and now French pastries, French coffee and perhaps even rude French waiters.