9 September
7 January

Notre Dame de Paris

From Victor Hugo to Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc
Closed following the fire in Notre-Dame Cathedral, the archaeological crypt of the Île de la Cité will reopen to the public on September 9th 2020 with an exhibition that retraces the history of the cathedral from the time of Victor Hugo.

At the start of the 19th century, the physical state of Notre-Dame, which was then over 500 years old, began to deteriorate. Suffering from vandalism and a lack of maintenance, the idea was even put forward of demolishing it. The novel by Victor Hugo, The Hunchback
of Notre Dame, was published in 1831 with the cathedral as the main character and, prompted by the immense popularity of the novel, a public movement was created to
support the cathedral.

A far-reaching restoration project was led by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc from 1844 to 1864. Although he wished to remain faithful to the medieval building, he also allowed himself to indulge in a few creative additions: when he designed the sculptures, in particular the grotesques high up on the cathedral, he took inspiration from Hugo’s novel.

Early photographs record this history and the many stages of the restoration project. Like the famous novel by Victor Hugo and bold architectural designs by Viollet-le-Duc, these images have maintained the building for posterity. The emotional response to the fire on April 15th 2019 shows a deep, worldwide admiration for the building.


The exhibition

The exhibition presentation will retrace this turning point in Notre-Dame’s history with reproductions and digital devices so that visitors can turn back time and discover the world of the cathedral at different points. Films and 3D models will be presented in the archaeological crypt of the Île de la Cité, just below the cathedral’s parvis.



  • Vincent Gille, curator, Maison de Victor Hugo
  • Anne de Mondenard, chief curator, department of photography and digitial images, musée Carnavalet – Histoire de Paris
  • Sylvie Robin, chief curator of the archeological Crypt and of the department of archeology, musée Carnavalet – Histoire de Paris
  • Charles Villeneuve de Janti, chief curator, director of collections, Paris Musées

Téléchargez le communiqué de presse



Full price: 9 €
Reduced rate: 7 €
Free for under 18

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image d'illustration
Crypte archéologique de l'Ile de la Cité

7, Place Jean-Paul II, parvis Notre-Dame
75004 Paris

Infos Pratiques

Horaires de l'exposition

Archaeological Crypt 
7 place Jean Paul II -75004 Paris

T +33(0)1 55 42 50 10

Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Cash desks close at 5:30 pm
Closed on Mondays and bank holidays


  • Enfant / Adolescent
  • Famille
  • Adulte