During colonial times, Dalat was the perfect holiday spot. The hill station was recommended in 1897 by the French medical doctor Alexander Yersin, and in 1912 the city proper had been founded. Because of its cool climate, it soon became a popular retreat for Europeans who wanted to escape the often oppressive heat of the coastal cities and the Mekong Delta. Sometimes nicknamed the "Paris of the East," it included all the amenities necessary for the social life of the colonial gentry. Access was vastly improved with the opening of the Cremaillere Railway in 1928. It linked Dalat with the main railway at Thap Cham, near Phan Rang. Due to repeated Viet Cong attacks, the railway was closed down in 1964. Today, the line has been partially repaired, but only the first three miles are operated as a tourist attraction.
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