The Presidential Palace in Vientiane is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and a national monument which features on the 50,000 kip banknote.
Vientiane Presidential Palace viewed from the Ave Lane Xang
The Presidential Palace is not open to the public but can be viewed from the outside. The front of the palace is visible from the Ave Lane Xang near to Wat Si Sa Ket. The rear of the palace can be seen from the the Quai Fa Ngum from near to the Chao Anouvong Statue.
About the Presidential Palace
Construction began on the Presidential Palace in 1973 before the communist Prathet Lao took power in 1975. The building was originally intended to be a royal residence and was designed by Laotian architect Khamphoung Phonekeo in a flamboyant Beaux-Arts architectural style. The Beaux-Arts movement was named after the style of architecture taught at a famous French art school (the École des Beaux-Arts) during the 19th Century. This style drew on features of French neo-classic architecture as well as renaissance and Gothic architecture, combined with a use of modern materials such as iron and glass. These influences are evident in the design of the Presidential Palace which is a beautiful and distinctly French style building, but in Laos.
Rear view of Vientiane Presidential Palace
The Presidential Palace never became a residence for the royal family of Laos as the Prathet Lao were communists who abolished the monarchy in Laos, replacing the King with a President and the Palace eventually became his official residence in 1986. The President doesn’t live at the Presidential Palace nor is Laos’s Government based there. The beautifully ornate and grand Presidential Palace is occasionally used for ceremonies and government functions leading commentators to speculate as to whether the building was an expensive folly built by the former royal family or an expensive wasted opportunity on the part of post 1975 Lao Governments.
Location of the Presidential Palace
The Presidential Palace is located at the intersection of the Ave Lane Xang and Settathirath Road.