I was born in Hanoi but I never had much chance to get to know my city. Ten years ago, I participated in a drawing contest about Hanoi. Innocently, I named my master piece « Hanoi through the window ( Hà Nội qua cửa sổ ) ». My family used to live in the old streets of Hanoi. I remember myself standing by the window, admiring our capital city, but since I was too short, the view was mostly red roofs and blue sky. You can picture my drawing now, can’t you ?

I have grown up, get taller but my vision of Hanoi is not complete yet. I shot my friend Äahn in Hanoi, but I only checked my photographs once I'm back in France. As I opened my picture files, I decided to share my view as a vietnamese student abroad, by introducing them in a special way. 


To my Hanoi,

French people use "cross the street like a parisian" (Traverser à la Parisienne) to call pedestrians who don't follow the highway code. They obviously have no clue about crossing the street like a vietnamese ! Crossing the street in Vietnam is a real art and every vietnamese are Picassos. Every year, I have to learn to overcome all the vehicles alive. The streets are packed with scooters, bikes, and cars, if you expected them to stop to let you pass with a kind smile, just remember that no one sees you, no one hears you ! The only advice I can give is to walk confidently. Let the cars, the big buses and the trucks pass, you better cross when it’s mostly scooters. 

Now, if you are seeking for a different side of Hanoi – the side which is not rushing, and noisy – then 36 Old Streets will bring you the experiences from a real Hanoian. Hanoi become more and more modern every year with all the imported brands of food, fashion and entertainment. Of course, I enjoy going to movie, having a nice cup of Starbucks Coffee, sleeping in condition-aired hotel room,... but over all the fancy places, I still prefer to have a walk on old vietnamese streets. In the middle of Hanoi modern life, these 36 artistic 13th century streets offer an authentic trip back in time with the beautiful colors of traditional jewelry, clothing, and fabrics. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to catch better scenes, but here are some corners of my Hanoi old quarter.

Today is my last day in Vietnam, farewell to home. 

Hanoi, 36 Old Streets


"One of the last fragments from our crazy summer tale. A whole day of roaming on motorcycle along the railroads across Hanoi. Eating street food, riding in the rain in plastic ponchos, invading people's houses just for photos...I cannot wait until the next time we meet !" -Äahn Hoang
Shout out to Äahn's skills in adapting to Vietnamese traffic on motorcycle, driving us from one end to another of this crazy city. Thank you for these amazing summer days, cháo trai forever ! -MinhFâ

Photo : Äahn Hoang

Photo by Äahn



"In the moment we are born, we are drawn to form a union with others. An abiding drive to connect, to love, and to belong. In a perfect union, we find the strength we cannot find in ourselves. But its strength cannot be known until it is tested." 
From Revenge. 

To connect 
I was born with many complications, that is why my parents always treat me like a fragile child. I would never blame them for anything because to me, they are the most incredible people in the whole world ; raising a son like me was definitely not an easy task. However at the same time, being overprotected is not necessarily a good thing either! I remember in elementary class, I was always standing in the courtyard all by myself, watching the other kids play. I was unable to connect with my classmates : I was too shy to talk, too scared to ask, and too lost to play. Luckily, in fourth grade, I met my very first best friend with whom having a conversation doesn’t make knots in my stomach. And it took me 15 years to realize what was the strength that shaped that connection : my friend is talkative, confident and strong.