The impressive Notre Dame Cathedral was built by the French between 1863 and 1880 and features two bell towers, reaching a height of 58 meters (190 feet). All the original building materials were imported from France. Tiles have been carved with the words Guichard Carvin, Marseille St André France. Some tiles are carved with the words "Wang-Tai Saigon". Many tiles have since been made in Saigon to replace the tiles that were damaged by the war. There are 56 glass squares supplied by the Lorin firm of Chartres in France.
Le Place Pigneau de Behaine, the square in front of the cathedral, holds a beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary. During October 2005, the statue was reported to have shed tears, attracting thousands of people and forcing authorities to stop traffic around the Cathedral. However, the top clergy of the Catholic Church in Vietnam confirmed that the Virgin Mary statue in front of a cathedral did not shed tears.
The late 19th century Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the oldest and biggest Catholic churches in Vietnam, and is a prominent feature of the city’s skyline with its 40-meter tall twin spires.
This neo-Romanesque Church was built with bricks and tiles imported from France, and is located at the beautiful Paris Square in the center of the city. The Virgin Mary statue, is also within the small garden, in front of the cathedral.
The Park is an area where Brides & Grooms were having their photos taken, very popular place!
Visitors can attend mass held three times on weekdays and six times on Sundays
No admission is charged in this cathedral......donations are appreciated.
Open: Daily, Sunday Mass 9:30am
Roman Catholics may want to attend English mass at Notre Dame Cathedral every Sunday at 930am. We were lucky that it was Palm Sunday when we attended the mass. Free palm fronds were given to attendees. The mass was celebrated using old format songs. The gregorian chant like hymns were glorious to listen to. I was so glad that our biz trip coincided with Palm Sunday. :)
A caveat though:
They told us "No pictures" when we snapped a few after the mass.
And they closed the church gates after the mass. I wondered why because the churches in my country stayed open most hours of the day.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of HCMC’s most outstanding landmarks. Built between 1877 and 1880 with bricks and stained glass imported from France, the Cathedral boasts twin bell towers with iron spires and a statue of the Virgin Mary out the front. The six bronze bells weigh almost 29 tons! Total cost of the Cathedral was 2 500 000 francs.
It is well worth walking around towards the rear of the Cathedral to view the heavy timber doors, archways and intricate architectural designs.
Interestingly enough, reports of the Virgin Mary shedding tears in 2008 attracted thousands of spectators. Despite denials from clergy, authorities were forced to stop traffic around the Cathedral to avoid injuries to visitors.
Notre Dame Cathedral is the main photography spot for wedding couples. During our visit we have seen at least 8 couples whose pictures were taken for their wedding albums. It was the wedding season in Vietnam during our visit and that may have caused the increase in number of couples. The cathedral is simple inside, but it is still one of the remarkable buildings which gives character to HCMC.
We all know that Vietnam was conquered by a lot of countries. The French was one of them and this could be seen with the structure of the Notre Dame Cathedral. We went to mass here on my grandma's birthday and i couldn't understand anything obviously because they were speaking a different language. I observed that only a few were Catholics. Our tour guide also told us that most of them didn't believe in gods.
The Notra Dame Cathedral is worth a visit.
This is definatly part of Vietnam's French heritage.
Its a brick building, and inside I got kind of a suprise. Never before have I seen neons incorporated with the idols.
Yes its gloomy, but that's ok. You will see the occaisional (or 6) beggar as well so be aware.
Apart from that, its a worthwhile place to visit. Its peaceful.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is still in use but not open to the public all day long. So I couldnt take a look from the inside, but it is also a popular place for locals to take wedding pics - which I witnessed several times.
I always try to come to Catholic church whenever I am away. This one is a historical building in which every city tour in HCMC will include this church as a tourist spot. I managed to come in the opening hours from 3 to 4pm and stunned by the very detail ornaments of the altar as well as the peaceful feeling inside the Cathedral.
As I walked out after praying, there was a woman standing beside a small table selling all kinds of rosary and Catholic books. I bought a pink rosary bracelet for Dong 20,000; and now regret not to buy the blue color because one of the beads in my pink rosary was broken.
I have to go there again... ^^
From the City Centre it is an easy walk of less than 10 minutes to the Cathedral. The 40 metre high square steeples stand out on the skyline and help navigate the streets. The cathedral was built between 1877 and 1883 and has no stained glass windows as they were damaged during World War 2 and never replaced, the exterior walls being red brick have suffered water damage over the years. It can be seen where sections have been repaired , however there is need for considerable more work to be done. The lack of maintenance is typical of many classic old buildings highlighted as tourist attractions in HCMC.
We were unable to enter the cathedral as a service was in progress when we visited late afternoon. The entry doors were open but as the fence gates were locked we had to look over the fence through the open doors to glimpse the interior.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is a modest replica of Paris'. It is no where as beautiful as the one in Paris but is still worth the visit. It is an attractive colonial-style building which is also a symbol of the strong presence of Christianity here. A statue of Virgin Mary also stands in front of the cathedral.
If attending the Sunday Mass held in both English and Vietnamese (9:30AM), be sure to show up early to get a seat near one of the large floor fans as it really gets hot inside and there is no A/C. Visiting hours and service hours are listed on the accompanying picture and were up to date as of May 2007.
Also check out the vintage motorbikes/motorcycles which are often on display on Sundays in the park across the street from the church. Collectors and afficionados just seem to gather there to show off their prized rides and trade stories.
If you must have a cafe after services, head straight out the front door and down Dong Khoi Street to the Highlands Coffee on the right hand side. Try not to get run over crossing the street on the way there!
The Central Post Office is located across the street from the cathedral and is also an interesting short diversion.
Notre Dame Cathedral is a corner of France in the middle of Ho Chi Minh... built in neo-Romanesque style, it is made of red bricks imported from Marseille, and it has stained-glass windows imported from Chartres.
I'm not sure when the cathedral is open and at what time... I know for sure that on a weekday at 11.45 PM you will not find it open. Apparently it is open for mass at 9.30 AM on Sunday. What you can see frm the outside is the architecture, the two 60 metres tall Romanesque towers and a large white statue of the Virgin Mary.
If you can spare some time out of your busy touristy schedule, do drop by Notre Dame Cathedral on a Sunday and soak in the atmosphere of a Mass.
A sense of serenity comes upon you as you step into the cathedral. The candles, the priest, the congregation. Everything. Another reason why you'd want to visit the cathedral is also to see the architecture. Lovely stained glass and intricately designed high ceiling makes this cathedral a lovely building.
A French-built Catholic cathedral in the city centre next to the Post Office.
The cathedral was built in the 18th century and decorated with stain glass windows. This is one of the landmarks among the impressive avenues and open spaces north of Dong Khoi. The huge red-brick edifice with twin spires is placed between two streams of traffic and is a clear reminder that the French once ruled this city. Inside, the decor is relatively austere, but the church gets very full and very lively during services. This peaceful place is perfect for quiet contemplation.