Structures built by Eiffel
The bright yellow iron mansion is known as Palácio de Ferro in Portuguese. It was probably built or designed by Gustave Eiffel (yes, that Eiffel). Not much is known about its construction, but it was probably pre-built in France in the 1890s and sent on a boat to Madagascar. However, the boat drifted ashore in Angola and the Portuguese rulers then claimed it and used it as a prestigious art center. During the Angolan Civil War it was damaged and then neglected for years. Today the fine building has been renovated and is again used for art exhibitions.
As the location for the first European settlement on the West African coast in 1659 and the capital of French West Africa until 1902 the island of Saint-Louis is synonymous with colonial history. Today, life between the island's colourful colonial buildings barely moves faster than it did back in the island's prime. Many of the quaint buildings have been restored, adding to the small island's relaxed and somewhat artsy atmosphere. A stroll through the sandy streets, in the shade of charming balconies, reveals many more workshops and galleries than the island's small size should justify. Such a stroll can justifiably last for days here. The colonial tranquillity appears as in a time warp compared to the bustling neighbourhoods of modern Saint-Louis surrounding it. The island is connected to these more lively parts of town by no less than three bridges, the most famous one been Pont Faidherbe, allegedly build by a certain Mr Eiffel. If you are around in May, be sure not to miss the city's world famous Jazz Festival
It doesn't get more New York iconic than this. The 93 m (305 ft.) tall (from ground to torch) copper lady was a gift from the French people to the Americans as symbol of freedom and democracy. She was made in France, shipped to the USA, and assembled from 350 pieces in 1886. She was created by the commissioned French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and it is believed that his mistress and later wife was the model for the torso, and his mother for the face. Even the famous engineer Gustave Eiffel (yes, the dude who designed Eiffel tower and Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi) was involved in the project. It is possible to get up in the crown by climbing the stairs inside her, but you need to make reservation way ahead.
The Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City is a fine example of French colonial architecture. It was designed by the ever-so-famous Gustave Eiffel (yes, the Eiffel Tower dude) and completed in 1891. It still functions as a post office today and it is a great place to send some of those rare postcards. Previously the Vietnamese stamps didn't have any clue on the back, you had to spread glue there yourself. Since the provided glue at the post office was very watery you had to make sure that the postcards were stamped before sending them off, or else you risked the stamps being removed and resold. Oh boy, the good old days.
The Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi is another of Gustave Eiffel's creations. Its 1682 m length spans over the Red River and was completed in 1903. During the Vietnam War it was repeatedly bombed but was rebuilt every time, leaving it in an alternated design than original. Today it is still used by pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles and trains heading to Haiphong. For reasons unknown to us, the traffic on the bridge travels on the left hand side.