Where is Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon? 

The Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica is situated at 1 Cong Xa Paris Street, District 1, in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. As a prominent landmark in the downtown area, it is easily accessible for both locals and tourists. Its location at the Dong Khoi and Paris Commune streets intersection also makes it a convenient stop during your city exploration, surrounded by other famous landmarks.

notre dame cathedral basilica of saigon

Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica is located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City

Opening hours and Ticket fees 

  • Opening hours: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM daily

  • Weekday Mass: 5:30 AM and 5:30 PM

  • Every Sunday Mass: 5:30 AM; 6:45 AM; 8:00 AM; 9:30 AM (English Mass); 4:00 PM; 5:30 PM; 6:30 PM

For the ultimate experience, attending Mass services twice daily is recommended. It's important to note that there is no entrance fee to admire the cathedral's breathtaking beauty and no additional charges.

How to get to Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon 

To reach the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, you can consider the following transport options:

Electricity green Bus

If you prefer public transportation, you can check the local bus routes and schedules to find a bus that stops near the cathedral. Several buses pass through the surrounding area, including 04, 120, 18, 30, 31, 36, and 93. Each transit on these buses costs 0.2 USD.

bus in ho chi minh city

Taking an electricity bus is the cheapest and safest in Ho Chi Minh City


To instruct a taxi driver, kindly provide the Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception address at 1 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. The fare for the ride will depend on the distance between your current location and the church.


If you feel confident, renting a motorbike to the Basilica is an option. However, it is essential to be cautious of the traffic. Using Grab or Bee is convenient. You must input the cathedral's address, and a driver will transport you there.

Additionally, you can enhance your city experience by embarking on a thrilling half-day city tour on a motorbike led by a knowledgeable guide

how to get around ho chi minh city

Try local experience on Saigon's motorbike

Hop-on Hop-off double-decker city tour

There is another good option is taking a Hop-on Hop-off city tour. There are some options of routes to go exploring the City and Suburban. The ticket cost would be 7$ for a 45-minute trip inside the City. 

You can buy the tickets in advance on the website of the Bus company.

hop on hop off bus in saigon

A hop-on-hop-off bus is an ideal way to explore the city

Want to explore further? Check out our post about travel guide to Vietnam!

What makes it unique?

Background history 

During the late 19th century, Vietnam was colonized by the French, who ordered the construction of a large church for French colonists to worship and engage in community services. Construction of the church, known as Saigon Church, began in 1863 on the bank of the Charner Canal (Kinh Lon). However, the initial wooden building was quickly damaged by termites. 

In 1877, the church was reconstructed with materials shipped from France under the guidance of esteemed architect Admiral Bourard. The cathedral called the State Cathedral, took three years to complete and cost 2,500,000 French francs, which the French Cochinchine government financed. 

notre dame cathedral basilica of saigon

Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica in 1882 by Manhhai Flickr

In front of the church, there used to be a bronze statue of Bishop Pigneau de Behaine with Prince Canh, the eldest son of Emperor Gia Long, on a red marble pedestal. The statue was removed in 1945, but its pedestal remained. In 1959, Bishop Joseph Pham Van Thien brought a granite statue of Our Lady of Peace from Rome and placed it on the vacant pedestal. Following the statue ceremony, the cathedral was named Notre Dame Cathedral in the same year.

 In 1960, Pope John XXIII created the Roman Catholic dioceses in Vietnam and designated it the Saigon Chief Cathedral. In 1962, he conferred the Basilica status of the Saigon cathedral in an anointing ceremony. Since then, this cathedral has earned its official title as Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. Locals also call it the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady (Duc Ba Cathedral) because of the statue on the front of the campus.

The Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica photo taken in 1966 under The Nation of South Vietnam Republic (photo by Facebook)

Throughout its history, Saigon Notre Dame Basilica has witnessed the city's turbulent past and has become a landmark of urban architecture in South Vietnam. Today, it is a religious stronghold for approximately 6.2 million Catholics in Saigon and a popular tourist attraction. The Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese is launching an extensive renovation project on Saigon Notre Dame Basilica, scheduled from 2017 to 2023, with an estimated cost of US$6 million.

notre dame cathedral basilica of saigon

Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ho Chi Minh City

Architectural features and style

  • Building materials

Notably, Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica's contractor imported all the building materials from France, which was uncommon then. Marseille provided the roof tiles, while the Lorin firm of Chartres manufactured the stained glasses. The cathedral's exterior is made of bricks from Toulouse, which still retains its bright red color today, even without any concrete coating.

notre dame cathedral basilica of saigon

The Saigon Church’s exterior is made of bricks (Image by Thanh Nien newspaper)

  • Design of Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral

The Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica Saigon combines neo-Romanesque and Gothic designs, creating a solemn yet elegant appearance. Twin bell towers, ornate stained-glass windows, and a red-brick facade characterize its grandeur. This landmark spans 93 meters in length and 35 meters in width, with a 21-meter-high dome. Its foundation can bear ten times the weight of the entire structure. Unlike other local churches, the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral has no surrounding fences, allowing tourists and pedestrians to admire its intricate exterior from the streets quickly.

notre dame cathedral basilica of saigon

Notre Dame Cathedral Saigon Architecture 

The Basilica can hold up to 1,200 individuals. Its stunning interior includes the chapel area, the main altar known as the chancel, and two smaller sacred spaces on either side. These areas are separated by two rows of pillars, with six on each side representing the 12 apostles. The main altar in the Sacred Palace has six angels carved from a single piece of marble and relic sculptures on the pedestal.

Ho Chi Minh The Notre Dame Cathedral

Inside the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica (Photo by Thanh Nien newspaper)

The cathedral's walls are adorned with 56 circular stained glass windows depicting biblical scenes, scripture lessons, and rose imagery. These vibrant windows are a notable architectural element in cathedrals, allowing natural light to illuminate the central portrait of Jesus Christ at the altar. The intricately designed tower also features Roman and Gothic influences, including high-domed ceilings with dark brown arches and classical white columns, adding grandeur, sophistication, and sanctity to the interior.

The Sister of Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica in Paris

  • Bell towers 

The front two buildings of Saigon Basilica were initially 36.6 meters in height. In 1895, the French built two bell towers with iron spires that stood at an impressive height of 57.6 meters. Topping off each tower is a 3.5-meter-tall crucifix, making the towers the tallest bell towers in Vietnam, standing at 60.5 meters tall. 

The twin towers house six bronze bells that weigh 30 metric tons. These bells were manufactured in France and delivered to Saigon in 1879. The bells are power-operated, and the priests only ring them together on special occasions. The sound of the bells can be heard up to 10 kilometers away.

notre dame cathedral basilica of saigon

The Twin Towers house in Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica

Between the twin bell towers stands a large clock that weighs one ton. The watch was made in Switzerland in 1887 and is still fully functional after 135 years. It is recognized as the oldest clock in Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Front campus

A small park in front of Saigon Basilica features decorative plants and four pathways that create a cross. At the center of the park stands a stunning statue of the Virgin Mary, also known as Our Lady of Peace, which was installed in 1959. The statue is 4.6 meters tall, weighs 8 tons, and was carved from Italian white granite by the sculptor G. Ciocchetti. Our Lady's figure stands upright and holds a globe with a cross attached above. Her contemplative eyes look up at the sky as if praying for peace for Vietnam and the world. The stone pedestal is engraved with a bronze prayer that reads, "Notre Dame blesses the peace to Vietnam."

notre dame cathedral basilica of saigon

Font campus of Saigon church

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral made headlines in October 2005 after reports from the Wall Street Journal claimed that the statue of the Virgin Mary had shed a single tear down her right cheek. Although unconfirmed, many people claimed to have witnessed this miracle, and thousands traveled to the Basilica to see it firsthand. The incident caused authorities to stop traffic around the Paris Commune Square.

Tips for the best experience

If you're planning to visit Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, here are some tips to ensure you have the best experience:

  • Timing: It is recommended to arrive early in the day when visiting the cathedral to avoid large crowds and long lines, especially during peak tourist seasons.

  • Dress code: When visiting this place of worship, you must dress modestly and respectfully, meaning you should avoid wearing shorts, sleeveless tops, or revealing clothing. If necessary, bring a shawl or scarf to cover your bare shoulders.

  • Photography: While photography is generally permitted, remember any specific guidelines or restrictions and turn off your flash. 

  • Silence and respect: As a place of worship, it's essential to maintain a quiet and respectful demeanor, so avoid loud conversations, using your cell phone, or engaging in any behavior that may disrupt others.

  • Check for events: The cathedral sometimes holds special gatherings, musical performances, or religious services. Review the schedule beforehand to determine if any upcoming events pique your interest.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Basilica of Saigon, is known for its breathtaking architecture, fascinating history, and essential cultural significance. Don't miss this stunning attraction while you are on the trip to Vietnam. And if you are looking for best Vietnam package tour, feel free to contact us for best experience!