Which landmark in Paris was at risk of being demolished, until a book by Victor Hugo was published in 1831?
In 1831, French author Victor Hugo (1802-1885) published the novel 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame', in which he devoted two chapters of the book to describing the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Hugo believed the Gothic architecture was a significant part of French history and should be protected. Rather than being demolished, the novel inspired interest in the Cathedral, which led to a major restoration project between 1844 and 1864.
The original Notre Dame was constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries. It has been restored several times since, such as after the French Revolution (1789-1799) and the fire that broke out in 2019. As a result, it bears multiple styles reflecting different eras of art and culture.
After the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), Notre-Dame was in a state of disrepair, which threatened its demolition. When Hugo's novel went on sale, it raised awareness of the cathedral's history and potential fate. The book's popularity and the reaction of the public persuaded King Louis Philippe to order the cathedral's restoration.
'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' is set in Paris during 1482. The story is about a Gypsy called Esmeralda and a bell-ringer in the cathedral of Notre Dame called Quasimodo.