The stately edifice that stands at Nguyen Hué’s northern extent is the former Hotel de Ville, the city’s most photographed icon and an ostentatious reminder of colonial Europe’s stubborn resolve to stamp its imprint on the countries it subjugated, no matter how incongruous. Built in 1902–08 as the city’s administrative hub, this wedding cake of a building today houses the People’s Committee behind its showy jumble of Corinthian columns, classical figures and shuttered windows, and thus is not open to the public. A statue of Uncle Ho cradling a small child watches over the tiny park fronting the building, where flowerbeds add a splash of colour.

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