Established by French colonists, the cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers, reaching a height of over 58 meters (190 feet). Following the French conquest of Cochinchina and Saigon, the Roman Catholic Church established a community and religious services for French colonialists.
The first church was built on Rue 5 (today’s Ngo Duc Ke Street). This had been a Vietnamese pagoda, which had been abandoned during the war. Bishop Lefevre decided to make this pagoda a church. In 1959, Bishop Joseph Pham Van Thien, whose jurisdiction included Saigon parish, attended Holy Mother Congress held in Vatican and ordered a Peaceful Notre Dame statue made with granite in Rome. When the statue arrived in Saigon, on February 16th, 1959, Bishop Pham Van Thien held a ceremony to install the statue on the empty base and presented the title of “Regina Pacis”. It was Bishop Pham Van Thien who wrote the prayers “Notre-Dame bless the peace to Vietnam”. On the following day, Cardinal Aganianian came from Rome to chair the closing ceremony of the Holy Mother Congress and solemnly chaired the ceremony for the statue, thus the cathedral was then-on called Notre-Dame Cathedral.