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3 Reasons Why Bandung Called Paris in Bandung

by Annisa Putri Adriza

Bandung is the capital of West Java in Indonesia, it is 180 kilometers away from Indonesian capital city, Jakarta.This is the fourth most populous city in Indonesia, after Jakarta, Bekasi and Surabaya. Bandung is populer for its cooler climate and surrounding natural beauty, also it is a place for the weekend getaway to do some great shopping. Despite many problems that this city has encountered, it still attracts tourist, weekend sightseers and Indonesian people from other parts of the country. Paris Van Java is a nickname that is known for Bandung, in other words the Paris of Indonesia. The nickname was given by the Dutch for the city resemblance to Paris and European atmosphere back at the colonial times. Not only just that but let see the other reasons Why Bandung Called Paris In Indonesia.

1. Colonial and Art Deco Architecture

The city was built by the orders of ‘Bupati’ R.A Winatakusumah II back in the days, contrary to the beliefs that it was built by the orders of Daendels. The Dutch colonial powers built boulevards, villas, gardens and fountains, making one of the reasons why Bandung has a nickname of Paris Van Java in the early 20th century. Many of these building survive until today and can still be seen in Bandung. You can check out the colonial architecture in building such as :

  • Gedung Sate, which is now used by the office for West Java governor. It was built by the Dutch 1920s and it is one of the most distinctive buildings in Bandung.
  • Savoy Homan Hotel, it is the most illustrious hotel with an Art Deco style. Another historic building is the Asia-Africa Building, this was the place where the Asia-Africa conference was held in 1955. Today the hotel has been rename to Bidakara Grand Savoy Homann.
  • Gedung Merdeka which is the venue for the Asian-African conference with its attached Museum. Back in the days it was called The Concordia Sociey building and it was a large ball room as a club for rich Europeans to spend their weekends.
  • Gedung Pakuan in Central Bandung, built in the 1860s. It was the new residence of the resident of the residency of Parahyangan.

Being one of the main cities of the Dutch East Indies, many of the colonial building were built in the second half of 19th century and the first half of 20th century. The colonial buildings can also be found in Dago area where expansions of the city took place in the early 20th century. The key architects for the 1920-1940 period are; C.P.W. (Wolff) Schoemaker, A.F (Albert) Aalbers, and Henri Maclaine Pont. They were known to combine modernist European architecture with style elements from Indonesia.

2. Fashion

There is a story that Roth, a Dutch Jewish that made the nickname popular for making his goods popular in the yearly night market (Jaarbeurs). This made Bandung in sync with Paris that is known as the world fashion centre.  The developement of fashion increased rapidly in the 1900s, this was supported by the opening of a fashion store called Aug. Hegelsteens Ledingmagazjin that was in Braga Street. This store made rich people in Bandung understand about the latest fashion.

Bandung is known as the top locations in Southeast Asia to buy designer clothes. If you have to spend much money for a designer in Paris, in Bandung you can buy with discount rates. Bandung is a home to endless maze of factory outlets where even designer clothes are sold at super affordable rates, due to minor products defects and surplus merchandise.  Rumah Mode, Heritage and The Secret are the popular factory outlets between over 40 factory outlets that is available.

Cihampelas and Dago Street is the alternative shopping are that you can get bargain on clothes from local designers which also has a good quality. Especialy in Cihampelas you can find denim or jeans store along the Jalan Cihampelas, it became popular because of the unique facades that was built to attract people. If you are looking for a handbags, textiles, shoes, carpets, bedspreads and other that is locally produced, then you can go to Pasar Baru.

3. Cafe and Restaurant

Cafe culture in Bandung can be the next reason why it is called Paris in Indonesia. Bandung is home to magnificent themed cafe, including garden themed and  several retro themed cafes. More over some art galleries in Bandung doubling as cafes. Some may say the cafe experiences in Bandung rivals with its European counterpart. The cafes in Bandung can suit any taste, ranging from simple street-side coffee shops perfect for a quick cup, to elegant places for dinner or lunch.

Braga street was the busiest location back in the days, the street was filled with fashion boutiques and cafe. Up until now, Braga street becomes one of the main tourist attraction. It is known that some restaurants still serve genuine, sizzling Dutch Beef steaks and Dutch bitterballen.

Now we know the 3 Reasons why Bandung called Paris in Indonesia, you can prove it yourself when visiting Bandung. he architecture of this city can’t be missed, because the historic spots has been revitalized by the government and be turned into a tourist attraction. This city is sitting in a former lake with an altitude of 768 m above sea level, surrounded by the Parahyangan mountains which is why it has a cooler climate than other city in Indonesia. There is also another nickname for Bandung which is “Kota Kembang” since the city had a lot of flowers in the colonial era and republic era up to the early 1960s.

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