Once the French governor general’s residence, this, like many of the city’s buildings, looks as if it were shipped in pieces from France and reassembled here. Light grey with white trim and a colonnade, it strikes a commanding presence. The spacious halls, with high ceilings and chandeliers, are a much sought-after venue for wedding photographs.
Spread over two rambling floors, the museum purports to represent 300 years of the city’s history. However, its original name, Revolutionary Museum, is a more accurate indicator of what to expect. The first floor has somewhat scattered displays of pictures of Saigon during the French rule, old maps, and crumbling documents from the time the city was founded in the 17th century. Also here are relics from Vietnam’s natural history and ethnic wedding costumes.
The second floor is devoted to Vietnam’s struggle against imperialism. Weapons such as AK-47 rifles and improvised bombs are showcased here, along with photo graphs of soldiers, letters from the front, and political manifestos. Many obligatory engines of war, including a Huey helicopter, a jet fighter, and an American- built tank can be seen on display outside. The museum also has an extensive collection of Vietnamese currency.