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St. Joseph Cathedral

At the heart of Hanoi stands a weathered neo-Gothic Roman Catholic church, a contrary sight in this predominantly Buddhist city.

St. Joseph Cathedral is a 19th-century neo-Gothic church built with the Notre Dame of Paris in mind. The church is a gathering place for the large Roman Catholic community of Hanoi and is also popular with tourists. Constructed when the French first occupied the city, St. Joseph Cathedral is a striking example of colonial architecture in Hanoi.

In order to build the church, the French demolished the ancient Bao Thien pagoda that had stood there for more than 800 years. The contrast between the two religious buildings was dramatic. St. Joseph Cathedral’s neo-Gothic cross, towers and nave are distinctly European. At 211 feet (64.5 meters) long and with bell towers reaching 103 feet (31.5 meters) high, it’s an imposing structure.

When you walk west from Lake Hoan Kiem to reach St. Joseph’s you’ll see the church’s faded exterior in the distance. The area around the cathedral is popular and its streets are lined with trees, hotels and boutique stores. Many visitors find this area a pleasant break from the more hectic Old Quarter.

You enter the church through the side door, not the main entrance. Inside, the original stained glass windows and religious murals maintain the traditional, European style of St. Joseph’s exterior. There are also traditional Vietnamese decorations adorning the aisles, walls and altar.

St. Joseph Cathedral is located just west of Lake Hoan Kiem, close to several bus routes and walkable from the Old Quarter. Entry to the church is free. Opening hours are known to fluctuate, and you’ll likely find the church closed at lunchtime. Services are held throughout the week and the church is often full. 


Guide to Exploring around St. Joseph's Cathedral


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Best Lodging Options Near St. Joseph's Cathedral

See all 2,127 Properties near St. Joseph's Cathedral
Melia Hanoi ¥11,383
Melia Hanoi

Melia Hanoi

44b Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Hoan Kiem, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Hoa Lo Prison Museum, Hoan Kiem Lake, and St. Joseph's Cathedral. Hanoi Opera House and Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre are also within 1 mi (2 km). Hanoi Railway Station is 10 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 25 minutes.

    Imperial Hotel & Spa ¥2,377
    Imperial Hotel & Spa

    Imperial Hotel & Spa

    44 Hang Hanh Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Hoan Kiem, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hoan Kiem Lake, Hang Gai Street, and Hanoi Old Town Night Market. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and St. Joseph's Cathedral are also within 10 minutes. Hanoi Long Bien Station is 15 minutes by foot and Hanoi Railway Station is 22 minutes.

      Dal Vostro Hotel & Spa ¥2,511
      Dal Vostro Hotel & Spa

      Dal Vostro Hotel & Spa

      12 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Hoan Kiem, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Hoan Kiem Lake, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, and Ngoc Son Temple. Hanoi Opera House and Hanoi War Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Hanoi Long Bien Station is 16 minutes by foot and Hanoi Railway Station is 21 minutes.

        JM Marvel Hotel & Spa ¥1,705
        JM Marvel Hotel & Spa

        JM Marvel Hotel & Spa

        16 Hàng Da Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Oldquater
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Hoan Kiem, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Vietnamese National Tuong Theatre, Hoan Kiem Lake, and St. Joseph's Cathedral. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and Hanoi Old City Gate are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Railway Station is 14 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 15 minutes.

          Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi ¥5,461
          Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi

          Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi

          83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
             
            4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Hoan Kiem, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of St. Joseph's Cathedral and Hoan Kiem Lake. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and Hanoi Opera House are also within 1 mi (2 km). Hanoi Railway Station is 5 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 24 minutes.

            Splendid Holiday Hotel ¥3,661
            Splendid Holiday Hotel

            Splendid Holiday Hotel

            16 Tho Xuong Lane, Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Hoan Kiem, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of St. Joseph's Cathedral, Hoan Kiem Lake, and Hoa Lo Prison Museum. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and Ngoc Son Temple are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Railway Station is 15 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 19 minutes.

              The Chi Boutique Hotel ¥3,344
              The Chi Boutique Hotel

              The Chi Boutique Hotel

              13 Nha Chung Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Hoan Kiem, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of St. Joseph's Cathedral, Hoan Kiem Lake, and Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. Hanoi Opera House and Ngoc Son Temple are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Railway Station is 18 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 19 minutes.

                Au Co Art Classic Hotel & Spa ¥6,124
                Au Co Art Classic Hotel & Spa

                Au Co Art Classic Hotel & Spa

                52- 54B Ngo Huyen, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Hoan Kiem, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of St. Joseph's Cathedral, Hoan Kiem Lake, and Hanoi Old Town Night Market. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and Ngoc Son Temple are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Railway Station is 16 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 18 minutes.