French Colonial Architecture
Pakse: Located at the confluence of the Mekong and Se Don rivers, Pakse derives its name from the Lao for “mouth of the Se”. Pakse is the capital of the southern province of Champasack, with a population of about 80 thousand making it the third most populous city in Laos. The city was founded by the French in 1905. Pakse offers some fine examples of colonial era architecture . The pink Franco-Chinese style Chinese society building is a good example. Once serving as a French administrative outpost, Pakse is till characterized by a good variety of colonial building, some of which now function as guesthouses and shops.
Champasak Town: This used to be the seat of the Champasack Kingdom, until about 35 years ago. But it seems it was a lot longer ago than that now. Now the town is peacefully quiet, and the only reminders of a splendor long gone, is the fountain traffic circle in the main street, and the two remaining French colonial style royal residences of Chao Boun Oum na Champasack, and his father Chao Ratsadanai. There is little traffic on the streets these days, and the cows have it pretty much to themselves.
The town itself is dotted with simply stunning colonial buildings. Of these, the former residence of Champasack hereditary Prince Boun Oum and former leader of the right wing opposition, who field the country in 1975 after the Communist takeover, is quite possibly the most magnificent colonial building in Laos. His daughter-in-law now resides there and although it is not opend to tourist.
Si Phan Don: In colonial times, the French attempted to create a cargo route through Si Phan Don, otherwise known as 4.000 islands, by building a narrow gauge railway across two of the islands. Goods were hoisted from boats sailing up through Cambodia from Vietnam and then reloaded onto new boats above the falls on the Laos side, so it is obvious that the islands would have some French Colonial influences with their architecture.
It’s quite intriguing to observe these luscious Asian island that have French architecture such as Don Khon District Museum, built in 1898, or the now deteriorating colonial building in Don Khon.