A well-loved, historic bakery and café located in the heart of downtown Ho Chi Minh City, at the corner of Dong Khoi and Le Loi streets, reopened on October 10 after a two-year hiatus.
A permanent fixture of the city’s landscape since 1950, the Givral Café officially reopened on the above-ground level L1 of the brand-new Vincom Center A, a complex of shopping malls, luxurious hotels and underground parking lots located in the Eden Quadrangle.
Covering an area of around 190 square meters, Givral has a new style with brown and yellow colors dominant in its interiors. The wooden furniture aims to give the time-honored French-style coffee shop a sense of nostalgia, enhanced by paintings of old Saigon that adorn its walls.
The original Givral Café had to close as the Vingroup demolished the old Eden building, including the Givral coffee shop, in April 2010, in order to build the Vincom Center A project.
The Saigon Givral Joint Stock Company says it has spared no effort to have the café retain its original location and feel.
Givral Café was introduced to Vietnam by Alain Poitier – a Frenchman who spent eight months turning a drugstore into the first French-style bakery in Saigon.
The café, restaurant and patisserie that serves baguettes, pastries, well-prepared dishes and great-smelling coffee, became very popular very soon among both locals and tourists.
During the wars against the French and the Americans, Givral was the meeting place of international journalists and famous people including renowned photographers like Tim Page, German photo-journalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Horst Faas, renowned English author and literary critic Graham Greene, Vietnam’s legendary spy Pham Xuan An and famous composer Trinh Cong Son, dubbed Vietnam’s Bob Dylan.
For HCMC old timers, the bakery is a symbol of the old Saigon, along with the Xuan Thu bookstore, Passage Eden and a slew of other historic buildings.