Saigon Notre-Dame’s striking red façade and towering stone arches were constructed with materials imported from France in the 1800s. But its architecture isn’t the only draw. In 2005, visitors reported seeing a tear flow from the eye of a statue of the Virgin Mary here, making it a destination for Catholics on a religious pilgrimage.
The Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica has become an architectural and religious icon in the bustling southern city. The neo-Romanesque structure serves as an active place of worship for Vietnam’s 6 million Catholics. Most private and group city sightseeing tours, including a fun cyclo option, stop at the cathedral, as well as the nearby Reunification Palace and the sobering War Remnants Museum.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The cathedral is a must-visit for spiritual travelers, architecture buffs, and first-time visitors to Saigon.
- Remember to dress respectfully, as this is an active place of worship.
- Expect a full house for Sunday morning Mass; arrive early to get a seat.
- The cathedral is undergoing a major renovation and is closed to tourists (with the exception of Sunday Mass) until its expected completion in 2020.
How to Get There
Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica (Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral) is located in downtown Ho Chi Minh between Le Duan and Nguyen Du near the Cong xa Paris bus stop. It is one block northeast of the Reunification Palace.
When to Get There
The cathedral is open for cultural visits Monday to Saturday in the morning and afternoon. If you’d like to attend a Mass, they are held twice daily on weekdays and seven times on Sunday. One Sunday morning Mass is celebrated in English.
The Miracle of Our Lady of Peace
The Notre Dame Cathedral gained international attention in October 2005, when a few visitors claimed to see a single tear slide down the right cheek of the statue of the Virgin Mary standing outside. Hundreds of subsequent visitors have claimed that the stain remained for more than a week, yet the Catholic Church of Vietnam ultimately refuted the “miracle.”