[Note: While I’m processing my first week teaching in HCMC’s public primary schools, please enjoy some pictures of a fancy church!]

In separate occasions in June and July I took the time to stop by the Notre Dame Cathedral and take a few pictures of this beauty, which lies in the heart of downtown Ho Chi Minh City, not far from my favorite cafe (where I’m writing this) and the Resurrection Palace. Unfortunately they were both on Sundays, but here’s a few photos of it. Enjoy!

A remnant of the French colonial occupation of the country, this is still a functioning cathedral today. About 70 years ago it was named the Chief Cathedral in Vietnam by the Pope and is now officially known as Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica. It is TALL!

It’s funny to see palm trees in front of such European architecture! Actually, palm trees still make me turn my head, even after 2.5 months… when I notice them. It feels like another planet sometimes.

The requisite statue of the Virgin Mary. A nice if conventional piece. Wikipedia says it was said to cry in October 2005, but I’m unable to find other sources about it. Apparently debunked, because statues do not ever, ever cry, because of science.

Yes, I admit. I took these pictures during a mass. Sorry, catholics!

Every single piece of this cathedral was imported from France directly, starting in 1877.

Mass is still held 7 times every Sunday, including those for whom getting off your motorbikes and parking them across the street would just be too much of a hassle. Like many structures here, though, there’s a direct view from the front gates all the way to the back of the cathedral. Talk about drive-by soul-saving – a new level of convenience!