SADEC, IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MARGUERITE DURAS
Sa Dec, the sleeping beauty, allowing herself to be bordered and caressed by the two branches of the Mekong, the Tien and Hau Rivers, seduces the traveller with her hint of Indochinese nostalgia. A small riverside town where a French novelist spent part of her childhood and adolescence, Sa dec is also a town full of charm where the deep culture of the Mekong Delta resonates.
Marguerite Duras and Sa dec
The French novelist spent part of her childhood and adolescence in Indochina and more particularly in Sa Dec. Her mother ran the girls' school there and Marguerite Duras used to come and spend her weekends with her mother and brother when she was a boarder at the Chasseloup-Laubat high school in Saigon. In her autobiographical novel "L'Amant", which won the Goncourt prize in 1984, Marguerite Duras tells us about her childhood and adolescence in the Mekong Delta and her first love with a rich young Chinese man from Cholon whom she met on a ferry crossing the river. For social convenience, the lover married a Chinese woman of his rank, and even her sister! He ended up with two wives... but the only true love of his life had been Marguerite, according to his last words. The novel was adapted for the cinema by Jean-Jacques Annaud.
The house of Huỳnh Thủy Lê
If the home of the rich Chinese in Marguerite Duras' novel "The Lover" remained closed to the public for many years, today Sa Dec brandishes it as a site classified as a "national historic site". Built in 1895, better known as the Blue House (or Blue Palace), the residence, evoked by Duras in her novel, is a clever blend of Eastern and Western architectural styles. Its refined interior, old furniture and period tiles provide an old-fashioned atmosphere and a touch of eroticism in keeping with the striking imagery of the book and film.
Colonial remains of Sa Dec
A river crossroads leading to Cambodia, Sa Dec was at the time of Indochina a major trading town and many French administrators and settlers had settled there. From this Cochinchinese past, you can see some old colonial houses in the streets of Sa Dec. Even if the years and the bad weather have given a beautiful patina to these old houses, one regrets nevertheless that this architectural heritage is not better maintained.
The horticultural village of Sa dec
Situated 4 kilometres from downtown Sa Dec on the banks of the Tien River, this horticultural village is known all throughout the Mekong Delta. Many varieties of roses, chrysanthemums, marigolds, dahlias, hydrangeas and petunias are cultivated here, supplying all the markets in the region and even beyond. Go there just before Tet, the Vietnamese lunar new year, when its animation and activity is at its peak.
Sadec's religious heritage
Sadec is home to a very heterogeneous religious heritage that does not leave visitors indifferent. Strolling through the town, one can see Buddhist and Taoist pagodas, communal houses dedicated to the tutelary geniuses, a modest church built by the missionary Adolphe Turlin or a flamboyant Caodaïst temple. Having the eye as the emblem, Caodaism, a religion founded at the beginning of the 20th century in southern Vietnam, is essentially based on three religions which are Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Christianity is also part of its source of inspiration. It is therefore a syncretist religion in which one can find such diverse figures coming from several fields in its pantheon, such as Victor Hugo or Joan of Arc. Very thought-provoking!
Best season: To stay in Sa Dec in the best conditions, we advise you to go there between November and April during the dry season. However, be aware that the rainy season is not a prohibitive time to go to Sa Dec. The rains are brief and rather refreshing.