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Notre-Dame de Paris

From Victor Hugo to Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc

From 9th september 2020

At the beginning of the 19th century, Notre-Dame is 500 years old and its physical state start to deteriorate. Victim of vandalism and a lack of maintenance, it was even put forward to demolish it.


In 1831, Victor Hugo’s novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, was published with the cathedral as the main character, and the immense popularity of the novel, created a public movement to support the Notre-Dame.


A far-reaching restoration project was led by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc from 1844 to 1864He wanted to remain faithful to the medieval building, but he also indulges himself a few creative additions. For instance, he freely got inspired by Victor Hugo novel to design the sculptures, in particular the grotesques high up on the cathedral.


In the early age of photograph, many photographers have captured the different stages of the restoration project. As well as the famous novel by Victor Hugo and the bold architectural designs by Viollet-le-Duc, those pictures took part of the posterity of the monument. The cathedral is today admired all around the world, as the response to the fire on 15 April 2019 prove it.


This exhibition will depict this turning point in Notre-Dame’s history through reproductions and digital devices so that visitors can enter the world of the cathedral at different points in time. The movie “Notre Dame Eternelle” presented by Orange and 3D models will be presented in the archaeological crypt of the Île de la Cité, just below the cathedral’s parvis.