A glimpse of romantic France high up on Ba Na Mountain

Nga Do
Elegant, delicate and romantic – many people use those words when they talk about France.  Those who haven’t had a chance to set foot in France yet, or the ones who want to recall some memory of this European country, may want to visit the French Village within the Ba Na Hills Mountain Resort in the central city of Da Nang. Instead of getting on a plane for at least 12 hours [from Ha Noi to Paris], and paying costly air fare, Da Nang is just about one-hour flight from Ha Noi and the air ticket definitely won’t make much of a dent in your wallet

From Da Nang airport, we took a 45-minute car ride before getting on a cable car to go up to Ba Na. On the way up to the height of more than 1,400m above the sea, watching the green carpet of the woods below us, and breathing the air that got fresher the higher we went, was a treat. The breathtaking views, gushing waterfalls and verdant mountain slopes explains why Ba Na cable line has been praised by The Telegraph and CNN as one of the top 10 most impressive cable car lines in the world.

Ba Na resort was established in 1919 by the French colonials and once held more than 200 villas, but only a few ruins remain. However, the whole area has a fresh new look since real estate developer Sun Group took it over a few years ago and transformed the place. The complex consists of the cable line - the world’s longest at 5,772m; the French village; a mid-scale hotel designed in European 19th century style, which looks like a castle; and a Buddhist pagoda compound.

Having been to France several times, my one-day visit to the French village called up strong memories. 

The beautiful realistic miniature village is charming, romantic, and poetic – as only the French know how to do. The village consists of a square with a fountain, a Gothic-style church, shops, restaurants, coffee shops and several other buildings. The architecture was inspired by old European buildings. The cool mountain air added to the sense of a European getaway. The further I walked along the village’s stone road, the more surprises awaited. Everything in this village, from stone statues, wooden-framed windows, bronze water fountains, conical grey roofs, was a re-enactment of France. The mist and cloud that occasionally envelope the village add to the perfection.

During my walk to discover the village, I saw some couples having pre-wedding photos against the varied backdrops.

Visitors can also stop by one of the four restaurants in the village, including La Lavande, Brasserie, Le Jardind , and La Crique&Café Postal to complete their “journey” to France with a meal featuring French dishes.

And don’t forget to pass by the Debay Ancient Wine Cellar – a unique “hidden” place, which was dug deep in Ba Na Mountain in 1923. The cellar is 100 metres long and always kept at an ideal temperature, from 16 to 20 degree Celsius. Here, visitors can have distinctive experiences in a wine space redolent with French aromas.

The area also features a large flower garden – Le Jardin D’Amour, consisting of nine enclosures, each in a different style. These colorful and well-arranged spaces are an ideal place for some photo shoots and benches provide a shady respite from the climbing.

One of the more rewarding experiences on my trip to the mountain was the climb to the nearby Buddhist pagoda in the early morning. From there, I could enjoy a magnificent view of the whole village, which was covered by a sea of clouds. I was speechless when I saw that beautiful, misty heavenly view. Anyway, my one-day visit was not enough for me to discover all corners of Ba Na Hill Mountain Resort, but I don’t mind. There will be other opportunities to visit France without leaving Viet Nam. 

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