At noon on 5 June 1866, the quay of Saigon offered the everyday spectacle of two small steam gunboats, making their last preparations for a departure. But judging from the commotion and the emotional farewells, it was easy to guess that for those that took passage, it was not just one of these voyages or separations which are so commonplace in Cochinchina that they seem to constitute life itself.
The travellers were going farther than usual: they were charged with ascending this great river, the fertile delta of which they and those that surrounded them had so often traversed, dreaming of its unknown origins. They were leaving for the unknown and no limitations of distance or time had been alloted to them for the journey.
Garnier, Vol 1: 1
Map of Saigon 1860
The Nautical Magazine and Naval Chronicle for 1860
(Cambridge University Press – 2013)
Map of Saigon 1867
Photographs of Saigon by Emile Gsell
Harbour Panorama, 1866
River Scenes, 1866