France-Vietnam is a bilingual (French – Vietnamese) digital library which shines a spotlight on the cultural, historical, colonial and scientific interactions between the two countries from the 17th century through 1954. The fruit of a partnership between the BnF and the National Library of Vietnam, it forms part of the Shared Heritage collection (Patrimoines Partagés) which showcases France’s relationship with the wider world throughout the centuries.


Drawn monograph of Indochina Cochinchina. Publication of Gia Dinh Art School. - 1935 – National Library of Vietnam

Remarkable Documents

Bridging the gap between French and Vietnamese historical heritage, the France-Vietnam digital library brings together more than 2,000 outstanding items that are fully accessible. The site includes a varied corpus of printed items, manuscripts, maps, drawings and photographs coming in equal measure from French and Vietnamese collections. In addition, twenty new texts written by specialists, researchers and curators, in French and Vietnamese alike, provide insight and context.

Annamese map of Hanoi - 1876-1883 – BnF

Organised by Theme

These documents are divided into 8 main themaes and 36 sub-themes.

Indochinese Legal Deposit

Thọai-Du ̛-Ðuơn̛g. 1929 – Indochinese Legal Deposit - BnF

For the first time, nearly ten thousand items from the Indochinese legal deposit between 1922 and 1954 have been digitised and are now accessible online. This collection is an authoritative source in terms of Indochinese history and harbours enormous variety including translations of Western publications, classical Vietnamese works, new literary creations, school textbooks and technical manuals.

Learn more

Seeing, Listening

Watch the conference entitled “La BnF dans mon salon“ (The BnF in my living room) - available in French - in tribute to Nguyễn Du (1765-1820), one of Vietnam’s greatest poets. Acclaimed for his perfection on a linguistic, poetic and philosophical level, his masterpiece “Truyện Kiều” (“The tale of Kiều” in English) has been widely adapted (music, traditional theatre and cinema) and has been the subject of as many translations and interdisciplinary studies.

The Background to France-Vietnam

Supported by an active community of researchers, France-Vietnam was designed in a collaborative manner. In particular, the symposium “Un portail entre les cultures : de la littérature aux sciences humaines franco-vietnamiennes” (A gateway between cultures: from Franco-Vietnamese humanities to literature), organised in May 2019 together with the Laboratory of Excellence (Labex) TransferS  (led jointly by the universities ENS and PSL and the Collège de France), was instrumental in contributing to the project’s design.

To date, the France-Vietnam website includes items from:

In 2021, additional French and Vietnamese partners, papers and items are expected to continue to expand the digital library’s existing collections.

Chaired by Laurence Engel, President of the BnF, a Scientific Council supports the content selection and curation for the website. Eight scientific specialists sit on this Council:

  • Michel Espagne - Research Director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Translitterae
  • Denis Gazquez - Former Curator (History collections), BnF
  • Emmanuel Poisson - History Professor at the University of Paris-Diderot and member of the French Research Institute on East Asia - IFRAE
  • François Guillemot - Research engineer at the CNRS in charge of content on Vietnam and Mainland Southeast Asia, Lyon Institute of East Asian Studies - ENS
  • Phuong Ngoc Nguyen - Head of the Department of Asian Studies and Institute of Asian Research, University of Aix Marseille
  • Isabelle Dion - Director of the Overseas National Archives - ANOM
  • Sylvie Vago - Head of Libraries, CIRAD
  • Huynh Nhu Phuong - Professor of Literary Theory, Hô-Chi-Minh-Ville University of Social and Human Sciences