Colonial Architecture Tour
In the early years of WWII the local French colonial government made an agreement with the Japanese to keep their colonial administration over Indochina and Dalat was planned to be the administration capital for the colony. Many of the historical buildings in Dalat are from this era and exhibit the art deco style of the period.
Bao Dai’s Summer Palace or “Palace 3” was the Emperor’s imperial summer residence. The choice of modern art-deco style shows the confidence the authorities had in the future of the colonial administration. This is the only palace open to the public. The palace was completed and delivered to HRH Bao Dai in Jan. 1941.
The Wooden structured bungalows are examples of the original construction style in Dalat in the 1920s. This house was built on a wooden piling structure, before the use of reinforced concrete. The raised main living areas were for protection from wild animals.
The Dalat Cathedral was funded by donations gathered by Father Nicolas, the Catholic priest of Dalat. This included stained glass from France, donated by the Empress Nam Phuong.
The Dalat Palace Hotel was one of the first large scale construction projects in Dalat. The design of the first building was classic pre-WWI style, commonly found on the French Riviera in the early 20th century. It was refurbished and modernised in 1942 into its present art deco style. The interior reverted to a post WWI style in 1995. The building’s original purpose was as a luxury hotel. The building has no piling but the foundations are made of the granite stone walls that can been seen in the basement bar area.
Across the street is the People’s Commitee Building, a former residence of the General Governor also built in the 1920s.
Cadasa Resort invokes a reminder of how Dalat used to be. The villas mostly belonged to the administration or private corporations. The construction ratio was restricted to 20% of the land to keep the garden city concept. #16 was the villa of Mr Paul Veysseyre, one of the main architects for Dalat, who designed most of the villas.
The Monastery of Benedictin Monks, again designed by Veysseyre, was ordered and financed in the 1940s by a famous rich Buddhistbusinessman from Saigon, Mr Lucien Bien Hoa.
The train from Phang Rang arrived at Dalat station in 1931. The former small station can still be seen on the left side. In 1937, the colonial administration built a new railway station, similar to the one in Deauville, a resort city in Normandy, France.
Phu Dong Restaurant House was built at the same time as the nearby National Geographic Institute in 1942. The house was called “Le Cercle” and accommodated cadres from the mapping institute.
The Domaine de Marie was also a Veysseyre creation. The fundraising to build it was done by the wife of the General Governor Decoux. She passed away in a car accident in 1943 and was buried in the convent.
Further art-deco period villas have been renovated as part of the Ana Mandara Villas.