"Hanoi - Porte d'entree de la Garde Indigene" - Entry Gate of the Native Constabulary/Gendarmerie
The flag is flying so the police must be at home, a grand entrance dwarfs the actual building.
This is a card produced by Raphael Moreau who set up in business with François-Henri Schneider in French Indo-China in 1900, within the year they had published 3000 cards. Their great competitor was Pierre Dieulefils, a retired military officer in Tonkin who also produced thousands of cards
Indo-China was the chief bastion of imperial France in the East, the so called 'French balcony in Asia' (I don't know who first called it that but if anyone out there has the answer I would love to know). The French believed in decentralisation and local autonomy; Indo-China contained distinct and separate regimes, though under control of the governor-general who was responsible to the minister of colonies in Paris. Tonkin, with its capital at Hanoi was independent but theoretically ruled by the Emperor of Annam, in the present time these are the country of Vietnam.
In the scramble for concessions in the late 1890s "spheres of influence" began to be marked out by the 'Great Powers'. Russia claimed Manchuria, Britain the Yangzte Valley, Japan Fukien, Germany Shantung. France claimed Southern Yunnan, which despite the subject of the card is where this was posted from. The name means "south of the clouds" and it is a mountainous region with 600 rivers and lakes bordering on Burma, Laos and Vietnam . Its beautiful landscape and mild climate make it a popular tourist destination in the present time.
The card also has an arrival marking of 'Plancy-Aube' dated 9 October 1904, being 48 days in transit. The length of time is not surprising as not only was Yunnan mountainous it was sparsely populated. The 1 in 3 written on the left hand corner is intriguing I wonder if the sender was based in Tonkin and was taking a break journeying through beautiful Yunnan or maybe involved in French colonial business and letting Mademoiselle Chaplain know where he was. From the corner marks it was obviously at some time in an album and maybe it was hers.
Our hostess for the Postcard Friendship Friday meme is The Best Hearts are Crunchy