According to Mastercard’s 2019 report, Hanoi is Vietnam's most visited city (15th in Asia Pacific), with 4.8 million overnight international visitors in 2018. Hanoi is sometimes dubbed the "Paris of the East" for its French influences. With its tree-fringed boulevards, more than two dozen lakes and thousands of French colonial-era buildings, Hanoi is a popular tourist destination.
The tourist destinations in Hanoi are generally grouped into two main areas: the Old Quarter and the French Quarter(s). The "Old Quarter" is in the northern half of Hoàn Kiếm District with small street blocks and alleys, and a traditional Vietnamese atmosphere. Many streets in the Old Quarter have names signifying the goods ("hàng") the local merchants were or are specialized in. For example, "Hàng Bạc" (silver stores) still have many stores specializing in trading silver and jewelries.
Two areas are generally called the "French Quarters": the governmental area in Ba Đình District and the south of Hoàn Kiếm District. Both areas have distinctive French Colonial style villas and broad tree-lined avenues.
The political center of Vietnam, Ba Đình has a high concentration of Vietnamese government headquarters, including the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly Building, and several ministries and embassies, most of which used administrative buildings of colonial French Indochina. The One Pillar Pagoda, the Lycée du Protectorat and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum are also in Ba Dinh.
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