Francis Garnier
French Explorer of the Mekong

Francis Garnier

The Entire Route Taken by Francis Garnier and His Party in 1866-1868

The Mekong

The Mekong

The Mekong Exploration Commission at Angkor Wat, June 1866. Left to Right: Doudart de Lagrée, Louis de Carné, Dr. Louis-Eugène Joubert, Dr. Clovis Thorel, Louis Delaporte, and Francis Garnier. (This is a Drawing by Emile Bayard from a Photo by Mr. Gsell)

Doudart de Lagrée, Commander of the Mekong Exploration Commission

Saigon Harbor, at Beginning of the Mekong Expedition in 1866 (Sketch by Louis Delaporte)

Major Waterways in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

The Mekong Delta

Major Stops in Cambodia; Kratie is Where the Expedition Left the Steamboats and Continued Up the Mekong in Dugout Canoes; Khone Falls is in Laos, Just Above the Border with Cambodia

Sketch of Phnom Penh by Louis Delaporte

The Khmer Empire in the 13th Century

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat

Moat Surrounding Angkor Wat

Bas Relief Frieze Inside Angkor Wat

Sketch of Preatapang Falls by Louis Delaporte; Preatapang Falls is Located Midway Between Kratie and Khone Falls in Cambodia

Rapids Near Khone Falls

Khone Falls

Louis Delaporte's Sketch of Khone Falls in Cambodia

Major Stops In Southern Laos

Laos is a Rugged Country

The Irrawaddy Dolphin (or “Mekong” Dolphin); the Party Saw Many Irrawaddy Dolphins at Khone Falls

The King of Bassac’s (Laos) End-of-Monsoon Season Celebration (by Louis Delaporte); Note the Fireworks Over the Mekong

Pirogue Races During the End-of-Monsoon Celebration in Bassac, Laos (by Louis Delaporte)

Wat Phu Ruins Near Bassac, Laos

Francis Garnier headed from Ubon, Thailand, back to Angkor and Phnom Penh to Retrieve the Party’s Chinese Passports; He Reunited with the Party in the Village of Uthen. His Entire Trip, Much of Which Was Done on Foot, was 1,600 km (1,000 miles) and Took Two Months

While Francis was Backtracking to Phnom Penh for the Chinese Passports, the Rest of the Party Explored Southern Laos. Dr. Thorel Collected Rare Orchids Near the Laotian Village of Nakhon Phanom (Sketch by Louis Delaporte)

When Francis and His Party Arrived at Vientiane in April 1867, It was Nothing but Ruins. Today, Vientiane is the Capital City of Laos

Louis Delaporte’s Sketch of the Pha That Luong Temple in Vientiane. This Temple Contains Many References to Lao Culture and Identity and Has Become a National Monument

On April 29th, 1867, Francis and His Party Arrived at Luang Prabang, Laos. This was the First Large Town They Stayed in Since Departing Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

Louis Delaporte’s Sketch of Luang Prabang, Laos

Louis Delaporte’s Sketch of the Market Place in Luang Prabang, Laos

At Luang Prabang, Laos, Louis Delaporte Designed and Oversaw Construction of the Grave for Henri Mouhot, the French "Re-Discoverer" of the Ruins at Angkor Wat

Inside a Cave at the Confluence of the Mekong and the Nam Hou River (Just North of Luang Prabang). Sketch by Louis Delaporte

When Francis and His Party Arrived in Chiang Khong, Burma, They Began Running Into Trouble Getting Permission from Burmese Authorities to Continue Up the Mekong

Louis Delaporte Sketched Villagers Near Chiang Khong

Jinghong, Yunnan Province, China, Marked the End of the Party's Exploration of the Mekong. North of Jinghong, the River was to Rough to Navigate by Canoe. Beginning in Jinghong, the Party Continued Mostly On Foot.

Louis Delaporte Sketched the Villagers in the China's Yunnan Province

Another Sketch of Villagers in China's Yunnan Province

In Dongchuan, China, Francis and Some of His Party Made an Attempt to Go Back to the Mekong. The Expedition's Leader, Doudart de Lagrée, Stayed Behind Because of Illness. Lagrée Died in Dongchuan.

Francis and His Small Party Only Made It to Dali, China, Where They Were Forced to Turn Around and Return to Dongchuan Because of Political Unrest

Louis Delaporte Sketched Villagers Near Dali, China

Louis Delaporte Designed the Tomb for Doudart de Lagrée in Saigon

Francis Garnier was Killed in Hanoi on December 21, 1873