Archive for April 28th, 2022

April 28, 2022

Hey! I was at Bạc Liêu, Vietnam!

Oh well looking at my pictures of Vietnam and bringing back memories and good cheers, I found this one little mention in older post. So, credit where credit is due, let me tell you a bit more on Bac Liêu, southern Vietnam. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Bạc Liêu is a provincial city and capital of the Bạc Liêu Province in the Mekong Delta region in southern Vietnam. The former name of the city is Vĩnh Lợi. At about 300 km from Ho Chi Minh City and about 100 km south of Cần Thơ, the largest city in the Mekong Delta. I came to the airport of Ca Mau, (see post) and drove by car, wonderful road warrior thrill.

Bac Lieu tac say church passing statues mar16

What marks Bac Liêu is its atypical landscape, western-style houses dating from the 20C line the river of the city. Its old villas have their own style, different from those that one can see in other cities of Vietnam. The materials came mainly from France, the architecture is symmetrical, the roofs have high vaults and high ceilings. The inhabitants of Bac Liêu circulate mainly on the waterways of the city, you too can admire the charm of this Western architecture during a boat trip.

A bit of history I like, The name Bạc Liêu is based on the Chinese pronunciation of a Khmer name  In the 1950s the area was a centre of Huỳnh Phú Sổ’s Hòa Hảo religion after Sổ was released there. After the Fall of Saigon, 30 April 1975, Bạc Liêu province and Cà Mau province were merged into one new entity called Minh Hải province. Although it is presently located in Vietnam, the area used to be a part of the Khmer Empire which ruled most of Indochina many centuries ago. It is still home to many ethnic Khmer people in addition to a large ethnic Teochew Chinese population In 1996, Minh Hải province was split into two, with the northeast becoming Bạc Liêu province and the southwest becoming Cà Mau province.

Bac Lieu Tac say memorial passing mar16

Some of the things to see in Bac Lieu ,which sadly had no time to see most of them are : Xiem Can Pagoda, Nha May Dien Gio Bac Lieu, Quan Am Phat Dai Temple, Tac Say Church – Truong Buu Diep (see pic), Cong Tu Bac Lieu House (Prince of Bac Lieu House), and Wind Farm Bac Lie.

Bac Lieu tac say church passing mar16

In Vietnam, Bạc Liêu is the main exporter of shrimp and prawns (for what I came!) . Do try its fondeu of fish, and the mix of Vietnamese, Chinese and Khmer cuisine.

An anecdote I was told: The don ca tài tu is a typical musical art of southern Vietnam that has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bac Lieu is said to be the cradle of this art. It is indeed in this province that the greatest masters were trained during the 20C. Born at the end of the 19C from a combination of ritual music, court music and folk literature, the don ca tài tu became a highly prized art in the early 20C. Many groups have appeared all over South Vietnam. In the province of Bac Liêu, the most famous musician was Lê Tài Khi . Founder of the first group of ritual music in the province, he will remain above all for the following generations the “later founder” of the don ca tài tu, for having renovated and popularized the twenty original works of the repertoire. By the 1930s, most of the great masters of don ca tài tu were former students of Lê Tài Khi.

Its always hard to find official Tourism information in English: so these are sites that give some information on the area of Bac Lieu. Hope it helps,

The official Vietnam tourist office on the South Vietnam area:

The Mekong Delta area private Far East Tour on boating in the Mekong by Bac Lieu in French:

The private Origin Vietnam tourist guide on Bac Lieu:

There you go folks, another dandy off the beaten path trails of mine in our wonderful world. Bac Lieu was a chance to see something different and see the beauty of Vietnam. Again, hope you enjoy the post and do go deep south into Bac Lieu!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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April 28, 2022

The Notre-Dame Cathedral of Ho Chi Minh City!

I had this monument briefly mentioned and the pictures not the best were in other posts. I decided to update the text and use these older pictures into a new post. Memorable moments of my visits to Ho Chi Minh City (former Saigon). I like to tell you a bit more even if just passed by it was on my list to go inside eventually; the Notre Dame Cathedral of Ho Chi Minh City!

The Notre-Dame Cathedral sits in the center of Ho Chi Minh CityDistrict 1, not far from Saigon Post Office and Reunification Palace. It was built by the French from 1877 to 1880. It is located Place de la Commune-de-Paris (Công xã Paris), formerly Place Pigneau de Behaine which marks the beginning of Đồng Khởi Street.  

hcmc ND cathedral front passing mar16

A first church is built in the 5th street (currently Ngô Duc Ke). It was a pagoda abandoned by the Cochinchinese during the war of conquest , But it became too small, the governor of Cochinchina, Admiral Bonard, decided in 1863 to build a wooden church on the bank of the Charner canal (Kinh Lớn). Archbishop Lefèbvre laid the first stone on March 28, 1863 , and the construction was completed in 1865, when it was called the Church of Saigon.

In August 1876, the governor of Cochinchina Marie Jules Dupré organized a competition to determine the architecture of Notre-Dame Cathedral. The project by architect Jules Bourard was selected by the competition organizers from among the eighteen submitted proposals. The cathedral, according to Bourard’s plans, is in the Revised Romanesque style, mixed with the Gothic style and based on the model of Notre-Dame de Paris, but inferior in size. All building materials are imported from France. The outer wall of the cathedral is built with red bricks made and imported from Toulouse.  

On April 11, 1880, on the occasion of the celebration of Easter, the inaugural ceremony was celebrated in the presence of the Governor of Cochinchina, de Vilers. In 1895, two bell towers were added to the cathedral, each 58 meters high and housing six bronze bells, for a total weight of 28.85 tons. Crosses are installed at the top of each arrow, measuring 3.5 meters high, 2 meters wide, for 600 kilograms. The building then measures 60.5 meters. The 59 stained glass windows came from the Atelier Lorin in Chartres. Some were destroyed during the war and replaced with modern stained glass windows. The cathedral was electrified in October 1913.

In the flower garden in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral, there was a bronze statue erected in 1902. The statue was sculpted in France. The statue was unsealed in 1945, but retaining the foundations. In 1959, the bishop commissioned a statue of Our Lady carved in granite in Rome, the statue which was sealed on the foundations left free in 1945 and honored it with the title of Regina Pacis (Queen of Peace). In 1960, the Holy See erected the Apostolic Vicariates of Vietnam into archdioceses with archbishoprics in Hanoi (North Vietnam), Hue and Saigon (South Vietnam). The cathedral is elevated to the title of mother church of the Archdiocese of Saigon. In 1962, the Holy See conferred on the mother cathedral of Saigon the title of minor basilica. From then on, this cathedral was called the Basilica-Cathedral of Notre Dame ( Our Lady) of Saigon. It still call this way even if the city has change to Ho Chi Minh City.

hcmc ND cathedral apse back mar16

Full services in both Vietnamese and English are held every Sunday morning and are well attended by Vietnamese and foreigners alike. Other services are held throughout the week. Hence, visitors who wish to attend mass should go on Sunday at 9h30 (9:30 a.m.). I was there while doing renovations ,this has been done already, souvenir picture

hcmc cathedral back passing dec18

The private Vietnam travel guide on the ND Cathedral

The Vietnam tourist board on HCMC and the Cathedral

The official Ho Chi Minh City tourist office on the Cathedral:

There you go folks, a nice monument that should have been given more and worth the detour in the wonderful District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City. Do enjoy the Basilica Cathedral Notre Dame of Saigon! 

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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April 28, 2022

The quais of Honfleur!!!

This is my favorite part of Honfleur and the most touristic go figure it! It seems the world comes here and also locals. It is heavens on earth ,and a wonderful spot for any season. Of course, I am talking about Honfleur but also more especifically its wharfs or quais around the old basin or vieux bassin!  I have plenty on the city in my blog, but let me update this older post for memories’ sake and hope you enjoy it as I.

Honfleur is a town surrounding a beautiful little 17C harbor in Calvados dept 14 of Normandie and of course in my belle France. It is still active as a fishing port and marina. The town has preserved many historic and traditional buildings and houses some interesting museums, churches and monuments. It is said, is the second most visited site in all of Normandy!


You can easily reach Honfleur by car in only about 2 hours from Paris,  ideal for a weekend visit out of season, the sort of place with just enough history, culture, sightseeing and good food to evoke a feeling of getting away , without going too far. Only 194 km from Paris via the A13 and A29 (Toll). Also, by road  23 km from Le Havre via the A131 and Pont de Normandie. 64 km from Caen via A13 (toll) , and through Pont-l’Evêque or D513 via Dives and Deauville. It is 184 km from Le Mans via the A28 and A88 (toll). There are ways to avoid the tolls but will be a slower journey, your choice I always try to leave enough time to avoid these taxes! From my new Morbihan I ,also take the A13 but several times got off by Caen on the D513 coming along by Trouville and Deauville.

You can ,also come with the Bus Verts line 20 links Caen to Le Havre via Honfleur The bus leaves you at the Honfleur bus station, Rue des Vases, and it also , runs between Deauville-St Gatien Airport and the town center or bus station.  Honfleur has no train station of its own; the closest train stations are those in Le Havre and Trouville-Deauville. Both have several daily direct trains to and from Paris Saint-Lazare station and both can be reached by Bus Verts line 20. As always like to tell, never taken bus or trains here, always by car. The public transport is for reference only.

Honfleur was assigned the role of fortress town as far back as the 11C, it was charged with keeping hostile, mainly English  ships from wandering too far up the Seine estuary.  And, from the 16C, its mariners were busily exploring Canada, helping to establish the French presence that bequeathed Quebec. Honfleur is tucked between two round hills, it is a maze of tiny streets crowded around an old port. On the northern wharf, a row of tall narrow houses with slate roofs and in some cases even slate facades dating back to the 16C, 17C and 18C. Many  streets lead to the Place de Ste.-Catherine, but it is well worth following a zigzag path to study the varied architecture of the homes on the Rue Haute, Rue Brulée, Rue de la Bavole, Rue des Capucins and Rue du Puits. Many have the half-timbered look associated with Normandy, and others are made of stone and are decorated with sculptures. Most were built between the 16C and 18C.

The Vieux Basin is a Port or Vieux Port located in the center of Honfleur . Its narrow slate houses reflecting in the basin make it the main tourist attraction of Honfleur.  This afloat basin was created on the insistance of Abraham Duquesne and by order of Colbert in 1681. It replaces the old stranding haven, which was much narrower. This work necessitates the destruction of the western part of the ramparts, and ended in 1684. This basin with an area of approximately one hectare (10 000 m2) has a length of 130 meters for a width of 70 meters on the south side and 85 meters on the north side where the channel is located to the port of Honfleur. It is entirely surrounded by docks accessible to the public.


The Vieux Port basin is surrounded by the Quai Sainte-Catherine in the west and for a part of the south side. The quarantine of mansions dates back to the 17-18C. They are narrow and have three to seven floors (except for house No. 2 which has only one floor). Many facades are covered with slate. Some mansions are built in corbally. The old basin has always been represented by artists including Gustave Courbet,  Eugène Boudin, Claude Monet and Johan Barthold  Jongkind,  forming the school  of Honfleur which contributed  to the appearance of the Impressionist  movement. Today, most of the ground floor of the Quai Sainte-Catherine are occupied by restaurants and brasseries. The south side extends the Quai Sainte-Catherine via the rue Montpensier. Through an underground route, the brook of Claire feeds the basin.


The basin is occupied only by a dozen constructions constituting the Quai Saint-Étienne. Among these are the City/Town Hall, the old St. Etienne (Stephen’s) Church, which has become a Marine Museum or Musée de la Marine. Three lanes access the Quai Saint-Étienne. On sea side, there is the quai de la Quarantaine and only one building: the lieutenance; that was once the home of the King’s lieutenant. This is the only important vestige of the city’s fortifications. The mobile bridge over the channel towards the front-port formed by the Morelle completes the tour of the basin.


The city of Honfleur on the Vieux Basin

The Honfleur tourist office on the Vieux Basin

There you go folks, just what I needed is to share this spot of our world with you all. Honfleur is catchy sort like an honorable flower town (my translation) and deservently so. Enjoy Honfleur as we had , do and will have; memories forever.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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