Ho Chi Minh City


Head: Olivier Tssier
113 Hai Bà Trưng, quân 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The EFEO's presence in Ho Chi Minh City

The EFEO in Saigon

Originating from the Indochina Archaeological Mission established by Louis Finot in 1898, the EFEO was founded in Saigon in 1900, before a decision was made in 1902 to locate its headquarters in Hanoi. The original link with Cochinchina was nonetheless maintained through the presence of correspondants or colleagues who were often members of the Indochinese Studies Society (SEI) in Saigon (founded in 1883); a network of productive scientific relations was developed over the years, remaining in place for the entire 20th century. Louis Malleret stands as a sure symbol of this, in his successive roles as librarian of the SEI, curator of the Blanchard de la Brosse Museum (today's Museum of History in Ho Chi Minh City), permanent member and then director of the EFEO. With his discovery of the archaeological site of Óc Eo in 1940, Malleret was above all the first to launch a major research project focusing on southern Vietnam. The research he conducted over a long period of years resulted in his monumental archaeological study of the Mekong delta, published during the 1960s. Under his leadership (1950-1956), the EFEO considered a temporary transfer of its head office to Saigon, but just a few months later, the definitive move was made to Paris. The EFEO nonetheless retained all its prestige and academic exchange continued. After the opening in 1992 of a new EFEO centre in Hanoi, further archaeological excavations were conducted at and around the Óc Eo site in partnership with our Vietnamese colleagues. Since 2000, short visits have been made by members based at the Hanoi and Phnom Penh centres, and by post-doctoral researchers, to gather sources and historical documents, or work in the areas of anthropology, conservation and museum development. Through the establishment of a project based in Ho Chi Minh City with a resident representative, a link is thus formed with the EFEO's origins, heralding innovative research and scientific cooperation.

The EFEO in Ho Chi Minh City today

The EFEO has established the offices of its research projet in the heart of the city, at 113 Hai Ba Trung Street, in a building belonging to the Consulate General of France which used to house a section of the French lycee. The building is shared with the representative office of the French Development Agency (AFD). Logistically, the EFEO's space consists of an office for the representative that connects with a meeting room with a library; a second equiped office is made available to visiting French and foreign academics, including scholars invited by the EFEO, as well as to scholarship holders. The ground floor entrance area, shared with the AFD, is equipped with a computer. This space is also conceived as a documentation centre, where a number of EFEO publications, including all the publications of the Hanoi centre, are available. The project is also specifically equipped with its own working library. Finally, the space is intended to serve as a place for scientific networking and a pilot centre within the EFEO's Southeast Asian network, and within its network of relations of cooperation, including the ECAF and the Paris Sciences & Lettres Research University (PSL).

Project and areas of research

The initial research programme is entitled "Understanding the culture and environment of southern Vietnam: historical perspectives, contemporary approaches". Set within a tradition of field research and knowledge dissemination, its main objective is the social construction of the Mekong Delta in interaction with its hydraulic and environmental dimensions. It is conceived as a pilot project, allowing it to adapt to the requirements of expertise and proposals of cooperation, and with a broad remit, allowing it to promote multi-disciplinary research in the social sciences and humanities receptive of new technologies. It additionally adheres to the recommendations discussed by the "Water Management" working group, organised within the European project IDEAS (Integrating and Developing European Asian Studies).

The project has two objectives:

1/ Support for existing programmes of research and training initiated by the EFEO (museum development, archaeology, Champa inscriptions) or programmes conducted in cooperation with other research institutions (IAO, EPHE, Journées de Tam Dao...).

2/ Redevelopment of a field research programme focusing on southern Vietnam and the river civilisation of the Mekong Delta, around the following themes:

  • Study of Nam Bộ rural structures.
  • Popular literature, sources and writings relating to southern Vietnamese society.
  • Agricultural hydrology in comparative perspective, between the two Vietnamese deltas.
  • Social transformations and environmental dynamics.
  • Heritage challenges of sustainable development in the Mekong Delta (Miền Tây Nam Bộ).

This programme, established for an initial period of 5 years, operates in a close relationship with the centre in Hanoi, in accordance with cooperation agreements signed with the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. Naturally, it will develop new partnerships with libraries, museums, archive centres and other sources of potential resources, as well as universities and research institutes.

The Ho Chi Minh City centre
Head: Olivier Tessier

Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient
113 Hai Bà Trưng, quân 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Lecture by Mrs Tôn Nu Quynh Trân
25 March 2020
Mrs. Tôn Nu Quynh Trân's lecture: "The development of the urban space of Saigon from its origins to 1954 as seen through plans and maps of the city", which took place on September 19, 2019, at the Ho Chi Minh City Center, has been posted on the EFEO's YouTube channel.

This lecture is part of a series of bilingual lecture-debates (consecutive French-Vietnamese or Vietnamese-French; English-Vietnamese or Vietnamese-English translation) organized at the EFEO Center in Ho Chi Minh City. The audience of about forty guests consists of researchers, teachers, students, and intellectuals from Vietnam and abroad.
EFEO publications

In order to highlight the EFEO publications, a new website dedicated to them is online.
You can now consult the catalog of all the books published since the creation of the EFEO and buy directly those that interest you HERE.
EFEO on Instagram

Follow the virtual photo library of the EFEO on Instagram account: ecolefrancaisedextremeorient
Exhibition "Imagerie populaire du Vietnam-triptyque"
Vietnam, Hô Chi Minh City, 26 February 2013
The exhibition presents selected extracts from two great collections put together during the first half of the 20th century in the northern part of the country (the Henri Oger collection and the Maurice Durand collection), and an original illustrated manuscript of the Luc Vân Tiên, the epic poem of the South. READ MORE
Exhibition "Textes et terrain au Viêt Nam"
Vietnam, Hô Chi Minh City, 25 February 2013
The exhibition shows the activities of both the EFEO and the AFD and highlights the cooperative efforts, both scholarly and operational, that unite these two institutions. READ MORE