HCMC is a booming metropolis, which produces about 40 per cent of the Vietnamese country’s revenue. Wide boulevards laid out by the French flanked by kapok and tamarind trees are giving the city a nice flair. An Opera, a Cathedral, the Post Office and others still remain and are the main visiting points for tourists.
The Cathedral ‘Notre Dame’ can be found at the north end of Dong Khoi designed by French architect Jules Bourard in the middle of 1870. The bricks were imported from France and build with this bricks and granite from nearby Bien Hoa. Its facade has two matching bell towers that rise about 56 m above the square in front.
If you are looking a the Basilica (granted by the Vatican in 1962) you will find the Post Office on the right side. This building has been originally designed by Gustav Eiffel’s firm and built in between 1886 and 1891. It looks like a railway station from 19th century Europe. A grand pavilion flanked by symmetrical wings. A map from 1892 shows the marshland around Saigon and Cholon. On the opposite wall a map from 1936 depicts the colonial telegraph lines of that time.
Dong Khoi street inspired writers and other visitors to see Saigon as the Paris of the East. In the time of GI’s this was an area to pick up racy bar girls. Today it is home to some of the city’s poshest shops.