Boulevard Charner au fond l'Hôtet de Ville de Saïgon

Pan Am makes the going great...Saïgon

Thtre municipal de Sagon

Le Boulevard Charner

Htel Majestic Sagon

Centre ville de Saïgon

vendeuse ambulante

Saigonnaises sur les trottoirs de Saïgon

Peugeot 404 devant le Thtre

La Poste de Sagon

Marin vietnamien sur un Vélosolex à Saïgon

Peugeot 203

Centre Ville de Saïgon

La semaine à Saïgon-Aout 70

La sortie de la messe le dimanche 16 octobre 1948

Le Palais de la Capitale du Sud-Vietnam

Htel Majestic

Cathédrale Notre-Dame Saïgon

Manifestation en cyclomoteurs Saïgon 1967

Un enfant sur un cyclo-moteur

Femmes Saïgon 1953

Peugeot 403  Sagon

Vietnamienne avec un velosolex 330

Cigarettes Bastos

Croix-Rouge Française rue Thevenel

Air France Dunlop

Etablissement Lucien Berthet Catinat Saïgon

SIMCA 5 Saïgon 1953

Brasserie Hommel Hanoi

Etablissement Lucien Berthet Catinat Saïgon

Cinema Rex Saigon

Carrefour Renault-Dauphine Volkswagen Coccinnelle Saïgon

Garage Jean Comte 34 Boulevard Norodom Saïgon

Air France

La Croix du Sud rue Catinat Saïgon

Peugeot 203  Sagon

Publicité Optrex Saïgon 1957

Rue Catinat

Hotel du Chemin de Fer Saïgon

Cinema Van Cam

Carrefour du Centre Ville de Saïgon

Sipeo Distributeur Kodak Saïgon

Hôtel de Ville Saïgon  Ford Vedette Citroën Traction

Souvenir de Sagon

Marins Français sur le Porte-Avion Lafayette en mai 1953

Saïgon 15 Février 1953

Hôtel de Ville de Saïgon

Jeunes Saïgonnaise rue Catinat

Femmes devant chez Brodard Saïgon 1953

Cigarettes Nationales

Musée Blanchard de la Brosse Saïgon

Taxi Renault Juva 4 Saigon

Moine Boudhiste avec un éventail Bière Larue

Htel Continental Cyclomoteur Mars 1951

Place Cuniac Saïgon

Magasins Courtinat Saïgon 1952

Vue sur Sagon depuis l'htel Caravelle

Indochinoises en vlos

Velosolex 45 CC Saïgon

Rue commercante de Sagon

Chez Brodard

Boulevard Charner au fond l'Hôtet de Ville de Saïgon

Cathédrale Notre-Dame Saïgon

Aigle Azur Saigon

Cigarettes Mic Extra Cholon

Biere Larue Vietnam

Clinique du Cheveu Saigon

Saïgon-Paris à scooter Peugeot en 1957

Marché noir Cigarettes Novembre 1967

La rue Tu Do anciennement Catinat

Saigon-Phnom-Penh en 1953

Photo Film Lumière Hanoï

Bière Larue Saïgon

Sagonnaises sur les trottoirs de Saïgon

Ford Vedette Saigon

Boulevard Charner Sagon

Tramway de Saïgon

Rue des Marins Cholon

Colonel Revon rue Catinat Saïgon 1952

Centre ville de Saïgon

Jeux dans les rues de Sagon

Devant le Parlement Novembre 1963

Grands Magasins Charner Saïgon

Carrefour du Centre Ville de Saïgon

Cyclo-pousse, Renault 4CV Saïgon-Janvier 70

La Rue Pasteur ex Pellerin Sagon en 1965 Velosolex Mobylettes

Rue Catinat

Devant la Station-Service Schell Cyvlomoteur, Simca P60 Saïgon-Janvier 70

La rue Tu Doon Brodart, rue Catinat

Brasserie Hommel Hanoi

Femmes Vietnamiennes devant le Garage Charner Saïgon

Indochinoises en vlos

Cathédrale Notre-Dame Saïgon

Pharmacie Nguyen-Van-Cao Saïgon

La terrase d'un café de Saïgon

Le Docteur Irwin S. Leinbach devant le Parlement Novembre 1963

Rue commercante de Sagon

Palais du Haut Commissariat  Sagon

Hotel Catinat Sagon

Confection Tailleur Coya Saïgon

Soldat Français rue Catinat Saïgon 1952

Les Banderoles de Films en 1948 Saïgon

Marin vietnamien sur un Vélosolex à Saïgon

Peugeot 203

The Sporting Bar Saïgon

Les magasins de Saïgon

Cyclistes devant l'Hôtel Continental de Saïgon

Taxi Renault 4CV Station-Service Schell

Cigares Mlia

Citroën Ami 8 Saïgon-Janvier 70

La sortie de la messe le dimanche 16 octobre 1948

Citroen DS19 devant le temple Vinh Nghiem

Jeunes gens en 1967 avec des Mobylettes à Saïgon

Cô-Ba Saïgon Hanoï Haïphong

Peugeot 404 devant le Thtre

Peugeot 203

Cathedrale Notre Dame Saigon

Eden Sports Saïgon

Marins Français sur le Porte-Avion Lafayette en mai 1953

Une Renault Dauphine dans une rue de Saïgon

policiers de Saïgon

Peugeot 404 devant le Thtre

Alimentation Générale Saigon

Rivoire et Carret Saigon

Peugeot 203 sur le Boulevard Bonnard à Saïgon

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Drapeau francais

The cafes and dance halls of Saigon in 1948

La terrase d'un café de Saïgon La terrase d'un café de Saïgon Soldats français à la terrase d'un café de Saïgon

The city center of Saigon remained attractive for the French army in Indochina with its numerous cafes and dance-halls, especially on Catinat Street and Charner Boulevard.
All these places were supposed to overcome the “colonial boredom” of the French who were established but also “prisoners” in the capital city.
The list below is by no means all-inclusive.

SAIGON'S BARS & DANCE-HALLS IN 1948
Bars : Dance-Halls
Croix du Sud (The Southern Cross), Catinat Street Le Chalet, Galliéni Boulevard
Le Continental, Catinat Street Kim-Son, Galliéni Boulevard
La Pagode, Espagne (Spain) Street Van Canh, Galliéni Boulevard
Pointe des Blagueurs (The "Joker's Point"), Belgium Embankment Dragon d'Or, Somme Boulevard
Bristol, Charner Boulevard La Venise, Rigaud-de-Genouilly Square
Club, boulevard Charner Tabarin, Bourdais Street
Aterbia, Charner Boulevard Chez Joseph, Jean Eudel Street
Bodega, Espagne (Spain) Street Au Vieux Cambodge, Jean Eudel Street
Theatre Cafe, Theatre Square Le Lion d'or, Albert 1er Boulevard

Van Canh Dance-Hall Saigon Van Canh Dine, wine and Dance Saigon Van Canh Dance-Hall Saigon

"Au Dragon d'Or" Dance Hall (Kim Long)

Au Dragon d'Or Saïgon
Dancing Au Dragon d'Or Saigon
Dancing Au Dragon d'Or Saigon

Dragon d'or Dance Hall and Dai-a Restaurant were located at 181 Somme Boulevard in Saigon.

Radio Saigon
Richaud Street
Max & Jack Reval

Max & Jack Reval Radio Saïgon

With Jack Reval (real name Jacques Lavier), there were two of us from the Sologne region of France, he from Marcilly-en-Villette and me from Romorantin), and we were on Radio Saigon once or twice a week to tell stories about people from Sologne which somewhat boosted the morale of the troops in the vicinity of Saigon, and all those who could receive us.
We also appeared in different clubs in town, particularly Catinat Street, Saigon’s main street, which was at our own risk given the permanent guerilla war in progress.
Indeed, the merchants of the city who had not signed up for the continued « protection services » of the Vietminh armies could expect severe reprisals in the form of grenade-throwing or Molotov cocktails.
It was thus that my colleague Mammie, an Antillean guitarist, and I, a drummer, saw several grenades roll past us on the dance floor… Luckily, my guitarist’s back was so wide that I was able to hide behind him without risk, while my poor Mammie was hit by numerous pieces of shrapnel. On the dance floor, several Vietnamese couples lost their lives. I sometimes stood in for a member of an Argentinean orchestra for a few weeks in the biggest club in Saigon, “The Chalet”, located on the Cholon Road, and run by a Frenchman.

Au Chalet
255 Galliéni Boulevard
The Argentinean orchestra, "Della Greca"

L'orchestre argentin Della Greca au Chalet de  Saïgon Au Chalet Restaurant Dancing Saïgon Max batteur Au Chalet Saigon

In this photo of Max, he is indeed the drummer in the Della Greca orchestra, and the guitar in his hands is that of the orchestra’s guitarist. This was the guitarist who accompanied Tino Rossi in all his films of the era, « Far from the Guitars », « Naples in the Kiss of Fire », etc
This select night club catered only to the upper crust of Saigon and Cholon, from superior officers of the French army to the big Chinese merchants from Cholon…, and, by chance, in this place and despite the explosive situation, the danger was barely noticeable, as the Vietminh army no doubt received a tangible measure of assistance from the citizens of this mostly Chinese city.

Le public du ThéÂtre aux armées Militaires chantant du Tino Rossi

Au Chalet
69 Catinat Street
Aimable

Aimable et son orchestre Bar-Restaurant Au Chalet Hotel Catinat Saigon

It should be noted that “The Chalet” in Cholon also had another branch, “The Catinat Chalet”. The Catinat Chalet was located at 69 on Catinat Street, which was a cabaret where the late and well-known accordionist “Aimable” would appear, and with whom I had the pleasure of playing several times.
Besides our practice sessions, we also appeared on Radio Saigon with my friend Jacques Lavier, a.k.a. “Jak Reval », in a comic duo spoken in our Sologne dialect, as he was from Marcilly-en Villette, and I was from Romorantin. This display of jokes, funny stories, and derision was intended to relax the troops. When the new Governor-General of Indochina, Pignon, was invited by Norodom Shianouk, King of Cambodia, the Armed Services Theater Orchestra was pressed into service to play for the week-long festivities at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Finally, in mid-1948, the situation in Saigon became critical and, for lack of reinforcements certain services, among them the Armed Services Theater, were disbanded, their members having been sent to combat units.
For me, it was temporary; first the Armed Services Cinema, and then the Commando unit of the 2nd B.M.E.O. (Bataillon de Marche d’Extrême-Orient = Far-East Marching Batallion), in the Mekong Delta and for Lavier, North Indochina. I never heard from him again.
it pleases me to bring the Armed Services Theater back to life a bit, having noticed that nothing about it still exists, even in the current archives of the French Army.
This theater group, which in its day had its purpose, would have been forgotten like many other things in that dirty war in Indochina…..

dragon

dragon

Christmas, 1946
In the Indochinese back country

Insigne 2eme BMEO Soctrang

Jacques Caron is from Noyon, in the Oise (department in France). He is the son of a city employee who handled ration coupons and joined the resistance very early on. He is himself a liaison agent and assists his father in the production of false papers by developing photos in his small clandestine darkroom. In 1944 at age 18, he joins up for the duration of the war. After the liberation of France, he leaves for Indochina.

Jacques Caron en Indochine 1946

Upon joining our battalion, the captain had us write a paper. He was quite astonished to read in mine that I left my native Picardy without regret, having decided to pull my weight. I acquired a reputation of being a serious type which earned me the assignment of whorehouse guard during our four-month wait in Marseilles!
Finally, on 16 January, 1946, we boarded the « Andes ». We arrived at Cholon on 11 February following a voyage that started off with a memorable storm. Four-fifths of the complement being thus out of commission, I experienced the only period in which I could eat my fill, since I don’t get seasick.
Barely off the ship, I am immediately assigned to the 4th section of the 13th company of the 4th BMEO. We must retake the land taken by the Viets who were trained by the Japanese in the region of Bokéo, Plei-ku, An-Khe, Kon Plong…which was totally destroyed and which we again occupied in November 1946. For two weeks I enjoy a « luxurious » hut with bed, table and shelves…
Between field operations I kept a journal as best I could in which relate the experience of the immensity of Nature and the dangers of guerilla warfare, but also the monotony of a very Spartan daily existence, frugal food, and the panic attacks of some among us, all of which build character.
It isn’t often that on your 20th birthday you come face-to-face with a tiger!
Luckily he’s not hungry!
My replacement isn’t due until February of 1947, and there’s no question of letting up on the pressure, but at the moment of my first Christmas in the field, I, who proudly left my country without looking back, am caught up in homesickness.
I’m not the type to let things get me down, so one week before December 25th I began to think. What could improve the day-to-day grind? Bread is what I miss most, but I need an oven.
Wandering around base I noticed a termite-mound a few hundred yards away… Ideal for a bread-oven, I immediately said to myself. I check its sturdiness: like concrete! Since this project is now irrevocably underway, one swift kick and all the little critters are gone.
I go back to find a crowbar to dig out a chimney; it’s tough going because I’m all alone, but there’s no way I’m going to tell anyone of my project! I have a troop of native riflemen who trust me completely – peaceful types, attentive and devoted… It’s with them that I’ll spend New Year’s Eve.
The oven is ready, but to make bread, one not only needs flour and water, no problem there, but also yeast, and I have none. In a moment of discouragement I give up on the dough.
A few days later I absently tasted it and notice it to be acidic. I lit a nice wood-fire in my termite mound and removed the embers a few hours later. In go the lumps of dough; a plank serves a door… A half hour later I can’t believe my eyes or my nose: beautiful, plump and golden loaves!
And my riflemen? Christmas has no meaning for them… But an operation is in the works which has them concerned… They therefore decide to go hunting with the idea of offering up a sacrifice to appease the spirits. They capture a wild pig and upon my return to camp, with my nice warm bread, the beast is already on the spit and giving off a wonderful aroma of roasted meat.
The locals gather around. In the middle of the incantations I hear: “sergeant Caron….. sergeant Caron…”.
One of the riflemen, Tchoun, whom I had taught a few words of French, explains to me that they’re saying: “you not dead”…
It’s a divine feast in every sense of the word, because in passing out my bread and in view of the fact that it was Christmas, I felt a bit like Jesus of Nazareth. Not a crumb is left over! As for the roast pig, it does not cause me to miss our traditional turkey.
For a vegetable we had potatoes baked in the ashes, which had been ordered (and paid for in advance) from a Chinese from An-Khe who had gone shopping in Saigon and who faithfully delivered them to me a month later.
Let’s not forget the beverages: water, tea, and a local rotgut made of fermented wheat which I soon learned that the best way to tolerate it was to swallow it in one gulp.
The next day, back to serious business. We go out in the field again. “My” Tchoun follows me, putting his feet in my footprints…. I am still alive.

Opération 4 BMEO au Laos

dragon

Base militaire de Saigon

The Army Theater
22 Taberd Street Saigon

Le Théâtre aux Armées de Saïgon

By Henri Darré, then corporal and movie projectionist.

Henri Darré Saïgon

Artists, actors, singers, comedians, illusionists, musicians… in 1947 there was a group of about 50 of us, men and women, in this theater at:
32, Taberd Street in Saigon.
We lived in the dressing rooms located all over the inside of the theater, while about a hundred Vietnamese who were there to clean the theater and to act as servants for each of us lived under the stage and in the out buildings.
Theatrical and music hall productions were reserved for military personnel, and were sometimes mixed, that is to say open to the Vietnamese.
I remember that our director, captain Saron, a close friend of André Roussin, had managed to get that playwright’s piece, « La Petite Hutte »(« The little Hut »), produced in Saigon before even being shown in Paris.
My talents as a musician saw me into the theater’s orchestra in 1947, and my friends and had the opportunity to play on Radio Saigon, which was controlled by the French Army.

Tony Muréna

Dédicace de Tony Murena

My godfather Tony Muréna (published by Léon Agel – Paris) had come to Radio Saigon at the end of 1947.
He played in Cambodia in 1948 before King Norodom Sihanouk, himself an accordion-player.

Christmas 1948
Army Signal Corps
(Camp Petrusky – Saigon)

In 1947, after general Leclerc had left, the shantytowns returned and with them attacks on servicemen. Every night we were lulled by the sharp sound of jungle drums, apparently played for death vigils.
The Signal Corps was thus set up in this place where about forty soldiers were trained in the use of 16 mm DEBRIE projectors.
The service was made up of about ten GMC trucks fitted out with a powerful generator on a trailer and intended to supply electricity for proper projection.
Each team of three, all drivers, projectionists, and if necessary, combatants.
Each team had a precise destination, most often in forward positions held either by the (Foreign) Legion, by the National Police, or by the others….
Each team went out for about three weeks. I say about, because you had to get in and out. A vehicle-mounted machine gun opened the road for us each time we moved but sometimes teams wouldn’t come back, having been the victims of a fatal ambush in one of those fragile outposts in a region where one Indochinese out of two was on the payroll of the Viet army, either out of conviction or out of fear.
Today, morale isn’t at its highest, because about twelve of us from the Signal Corps have been given new assignments to combat units.
Reinforcements from France being non-existent, headquarters draws from all the Services. Some will go to Tonkin, others to Annam, to Cambodia, or to Laos, as did my friend Lavier. I have been assigned to join the 2nd BMEO at Soc Trang, in the Mekong delta.

Insigne 2eme BMEO Soctrang

Each of us is thinking that tonight is Christmas Eve in France. For us it will remain routine, dust, mosquitoes… For the most part this Christmas Eve will be observed in the outposts where nothing special is planned: Saigon is under siege.
I’m luck to be able to go join my friends from the orchestra at the military base where a dance is to be given. I won’t go back until the next day because it isn’t wise to enter or leave the base at night. The huts which General Leclerc had ordered destroyed in within a radius of one kilometer of the camp in 1945 have returned, along with the freeloading Viet riflemen.
Christmas Day starts off sad and no notable change is to be expected in the immediate future. Tomorrow each of us will take his pack and will rejoin, more often than not by his own means, his assigned unit.
As for myself, I got lifts from military trucks, as well as civilian trucks protected by convoy. I even traveled a few kilometers in an Indochinese truck full of ducks, by way of My-Tho, Ben Tre, Mo Cay, Vung Lien, Vinh Long, Cai Von and finally Can Tho, where I arrived on December 28.
The roads being cut and Soc Trang being surrounded by the Viets, I didn’t make it back to my base until 3 January 1949, by way of creeks on a Navy gunboat. …

Patrouille sur le Mékong à Soctrang

dragon

The motion picture service in Indochina

by Henri Darré

Le service cinéma en Indochine Le service cinéma en Indochine

- in the left picture, Hugues Jué in front of the tool of his trade – a Dodge 6X6 (Marshal Joffre)

- in the picture on the right, the social services truck (Motion Picture Group) of Marshal Joffre’s team.


Rediscoveries with the Cinema of Indochina...

Thanks to the sites which publish my accounts on the internet I was contacted a few days ago by Daniel Jué, a veteran of the Indochina Air Force, who served as a Master Medic at the base at Gia Lam (Tonkin) from 1952 to 1954.
This veteran of Indochina had noticed, while reading one of my stories, that I too, had served with the army motion pictures section in Saigon, where his brother, Hugues Jué (deceased in 1995), had served in the same unit during the same years – 1952/54.
I was later assigned, along with my two teammates, to the GMC “Marshal Bazaine”, in which our mission took us to outposts more isolated and farther from Saigon, towards the Plain of Reeds and the Mekong Delta.

Salle de projection dans le camion Dodge Projection d'un film à Soctrang Patrouille sur le Mékong à Soctrang

- In the left photo, the interior of the ‘Marshal Joffre’ truck… everything was well secured to stand up to the rutted trails.
At the back the driver’s cab where the projectionists combined their job with those of driver, repairman, and sometimes even combatant…

- In the center photo, the interior of the ‘Marshal Joffre’ truck and Hugues Jué busy with his Debrie 16 mm projector.

- In the photo on the right, at the back, one can see the map which was in all the movie trucks, and which showed the outposts to visit during a three-week tour.


Hugues Jué probably experienced the same fears, emotions and satisfaction that I had felt as well during our missions to these isolated outposts and in his memory as well as for his family I stand by anyone who, like myself and so many others, contributed to making life a little less somber for those who fought, far from their family, in this distant land of Indochina.

dragon

Camp Petrusky in 1954

Camp Pétrusky en 1954

Hugues Jué, far left in the photo, next to his brother Daniel, during their encounter at Camp Petrusky in 1954.

dragon

Annual Gala of November 6, 1954
of the Former Children of the Military (A.E.T.)

Gala annuel Saigon 1954

A word from the President:
Dear Friends,
The President welcomes you and invites you to enjoy the evening’s entertainment.

The Night of the Former Chldren of the Military

With the big band of the 2nd Guard Legion under the direction of:
Jean-Landry
Presentation by
Paul Sylvain of the Air Force
With favors...and the amateur half-hour...

Programme du gala annuel des Anciens Enfants de Troupe Saigon 1954

Bill of fare in Piastres:
Champagnes : Mumm Cordon Rouge ou Vert 290$, Pommery 1947 290$, Taittinger, Mercier 240$.
White wines: Tramminer, Riesling, Saint-Croix du Mont 90$.
Fine Rosé wine: Arbois 90$.
Beers: French, German 30$.
Sodas: Piper Get soda, 1/4 Perrier, 1/4 Vittelloise, Grapefruit drink 25$, Soda 25$.
Cold Buffet:Cakes 10$, Cold cuts 30$, Sandwich 20$.
Cigarettes : American 25$, Bastos, Mélia 5$, Mélia Rouge 12, Golden Club 12$.
For payment, DEMAND A TICKET

dragon

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