1. Introduction of Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon

Located in Paris Square, Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is officially called the “Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception“. It is one of the most majestic cathedrals in the world. It was built, between 1863 and 1880, by French Roman Catholics and featured a striking red façade and towering stone arches constructed with materials imported from France.

The name Notre Dame was given after the installation of the stature “Peaceful Notre Dame” in 1959. Currently, the place is temporarily closed for renovation. To prepare well for your next visit, let’s check out this famous landmark of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) with Metta Voyage!

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  • Address: No.1 Cong Xa Paris St, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Opening hours:  8:00 AM – 11:00 AM &  2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
  • Notice: The cathedral is currently under renovation, only Catholic believers attending mass can go inside.

2. History of Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral

The Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon traces its history back to the late 19th century when the French started to invade Vietnam. During this time, the French government wanted to build a church to provide religious services for local and French Colonialists.

The French first built a church on Ngo Duc Ke Street, but it is so small that they have to build a bigger one on Mar 28th, 1863. The construction of the big church lasted 2 years and was called “ Saigon Church”.

In 1985, two bell towers were added to the cathedral, and each of them was 57.6 high. Around the towers are six additional smaller bronze bells. The tops of each tower were constructed with crosses. They are around 3.5 m tall, 2 m broad, and weigh 600 kg each. The building is currently 60.5 meters tall from bottom to top.

A bronze statue of Pigneau de Behaine, also known as the Bishop of Adran, guiding Prince Canh (the eldest son of King Gia Long) was also constructed by the French colonists. This monument was placed at the church’s entrance. Even though it was demolished in 1945, its base still exists today.

In 1959, Catholic Bishop Joseph Pham Van Thien arranged a ceremony to erect a statue of Our lady of Peace on an empty foundation. Cardinal Agagianian from Rome solemnly attended the ceremony for the statue, then the cathedral was renamed Notre Dame Cathedral.

Since 1962, the Cathedral was called Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica.

The Cathedral has undergone 3 renovations. Currently, it is temporarily closed for renovation and only opens for the Vietnamese Catholics Ceremony every Sunday.  Tourists are still welcome to visit the Basilica’s surrounding grounds or go walking in the square in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon. 

3. Architectural highlights of Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral

Viewed from the outside, the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon stands out for its old beauty and calmness. People stop there to enjoy the bright harmonious colors of red bricks and other materials imported directly from France. The neo-Romanesque style of the Cathedral is highly sought-after and blends well with Vietnamese ornaments, which makes the Cathedral a testament to Vietnamese culture during colonials.

The Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral is a favorite place for people to enjoy the celebrating spirit of some Western events such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, etc. and an Ideal background to take pictures, especially during wedding seasons. Many wedding couples come here to do their photoshoots.

The cathedral is able to hold a capacity of 1200 people. 

4. Some attractions near Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral is within walking distance of many attractions. You can easily walk to the following places:

4.1. Central Post Office

Visitors can come here to observe the procedures of sending letters in the past.

  • Location: 125 Hai Ba Trung, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam
  • Distance: 0.1 km
  • Feature: Architectural building

4.2. Diamond Plaza

If you are a shopaholic, Diamond Plaza is heaven for you to come and choose the best products to treat yourself.

  • Location: 34 Le Duan Street District 1, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
  • Distance: 0.1 km
  • Feature: Shopping mall

4.3. Ho Chi Minh City’s Book Street

This Book Street is ready for all book lovers to enjoy a tranquil atmosphere and grasp knowledge.

  • Location: Duong Nguyen Van Binh, Ben Nghe, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
  • Distance: 0.2 km
  • Feature: Reading space

4.4. Ellui Club

  • Location: 107 Pasteur St Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 700000 Vietnam
  • Distance: 0.3 km
  • Feature: Entertaining

The Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is part of the soul of Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnamese culture. It brings the religious spirit and ancient charm to the entire area. Although we cannot enter the church to see the interior architecture, people can still admire it from the outside and pray for a happy life when walking around the cathedral. Please contact Metta Voyage to get more information and click here for other fascinating tours in Ho Chi Minh City!

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