The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The famous book by Victor Hugo is more relevant than ever when it comes to the recent events at the cathedral. It reminds us almost two centuries later that the has already been saved and rebuilt before.

When it came out in 1831 and was a major literary success, The Hunchback of Notre Dame the news and attention it created at the time brought attention to the Cathedral which had been in a terrible state of disrepair. As a result of Hugo’s book and effort, the king ordered a restoration in 1844.

At the time of his writing, the church was a wreck from years of being ignored and even vandalized. In his book, he ends the preface of Hunchback with predicting that “the church will, perhaps, itself soon disappear from the face of the earth.” But instead, he managed to save it.

Written with the hopes of saving an irreplaceable historic landmark of Paris that was on death’s doorstep, The Hunchback of Notre Dame instead was able to bring it new life. It’s pretty clear, with the dedication of the people of France, that same thing is going to happen once more.

The book came about because of Victor Hugo’s love of Gothic architecture. Victor Hugo started writing the Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1829. He wanted to make his contemporaries aware of Gothic architecture which was being neglected, destroyed and replaced with other buildings. The medieval stained glass panels for example found in the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris had their medieval stained glass panels removed and this was replaced by white glass some more light could get into the church. Hugo goes into a lot of detail in the book about this. He had a great concern about this type of architecture and had written papers in the past about it. His publisher wanted him to get the book finished so in September 1830 he worked non-stop on his project and six months later the Hunchback of Notre Dame was released.

Book Plot

The book story takes place in Paris during the reign of Louis XI in 1482. A gypsy by the name of Esmeralda has hearts of men including Pierre Gregoire and Captain Phoebus. Another character called Quasimodo has also taken an interest in Esmeralda as well as Quasimodo’s Guardian Archdeacon Claude Frollo who lusts after Esmeralda. He is torn because of the rules of the Notre Dame Cathedral. He has Quasimodo kidnap her but Phoebus and his guards capture Quasimodo and Save Esmeralda. Gringoire tries to help Esmerelda but Quasimodo knocks him out. When beggars are about to hang Gringoire, Esmeralda saves his life by agreeing to marry him for a period of four years.

Quasimodo is scheduled to be flogged but he calls out for water. Esmerelda approaches public stocks and gives him a drink of water. This ends up saving him and Quasimodo is thankful. Esmeralda is then arrested and she is charged with an attempted murder Phoebus but this is actually Frollo who attempted to murder him because he was jealous that he was trying to seduce Esmeralda. She is then sentenced to death and it’s going to be hanged. As she’s being led to the Gallows for her hanging Quasimodo comes down by the Bell rope of Notre Dame and takes her to the cathedral. Here at the Cathedral, he protects her as the cathedral is a sanctuary so she can’t be arrested.

Frollo tells Gringoire that the court has voted to take the sanctuary away from Esmeralda so that you can’t seek shelter in the Notre Dame Cathedral. She needs to be taken away and then killed. A gypsy leader called Clopin hears this news and has the citizens to rally around to make a charge at the Cathedral so Esmeralda can be rescued.

Quasimodo sees the Gypsies and believes that they are there to hurt Esmeralda so he drives these gypsies away. He believes that the king’s men want her rescued so he works to help them find her. Gringoire and Frollo rescue her but she doesn’t accept Frollo’s attempts to win her love so Frollo betrays her and hands her over to the troops. he watches as she is being hanged.

Quasimodo then pushes Frollo from the Notre Dame Cathedral and he dies. Quasimodo goes to the cemetery where Esmeralda is and hugs her body. He allows himself to die of starvation alongside her.

Major Themes

One of the major themes of this book is the Notre Dame Cathedral itself. It plays a significant role in the book it is where the main setting takes place and it’s the focus of the main theme of the story. During the time that Victor Hugo wrote this book, the cathedral had fallen into disrepair. Victor Hugo felt strongly about the cathedral. the book captures the romantic era as one that is extreme in religion, passion, and architecture. The themes of fate and destiny are set up in the book. It also explores social strife and revolution.

Architecture in the Book

Architecture plays a role in the book as Victor Hugo thought this was going to disappear because the printing press was developed. He believed that people’s ideas would be more developed on paper and that those wouldn’t go into architecture as much as before. he believed that the. He wrote the book in what he thought was the last era where architecture would have a great artistic form.

Drama Adaptations

Television and film adaptations have strayed from the original plot of the story. Some of them have given the story a happier ending. In 1939 the classic film shows Quasimodo losing Esmeralda to Gringoire.  In1956 a French version of the film is one of the only versions that ends almost exactly like the novel does although some other areas of the story are changed.

Disney Version

There is also a Disney version of this book. Frollo is going to burn as Esmeralda at the stake because she rejects his advances. Quasimodo ends up rescuing her and takes her to the cathedral. While at the cathedral Quasimodo pours molten lead into the streets so that the Gypsies and anyone else can’t enter the cathedral. Frollo Ends up getting inside and persuades Esmeralda and Quasimodo to go to the balcony. He has a fight with Quasimodo and both of them fall over the edge. Frollo ends up dying in the molten lead while Phoebus catches Quasimodo on one of the lower floors. Quasimodo comes to accept that as Esmeralda and Phoebus are in love and sends his blessings to them. They encouraged him to leave the cathedral and go into the outside world. the citizens consider him a hero after this and he is accepted into society.


While the movie versions of the main Hunchback of Notre Dame story are different they do hold the same themes. The book version is quite a lot darker and you wouldn’t expect this to be shown in a movie especially a Disney movie. This is an excellent story that showcases the Notre Dame Cathedral as well as tells a great tale that many people cherish.

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The Notre Dame Cathedral Will Be Rebuilt!

Now that the Fire is out, Time to Rebuild!

Yesterday, as the Notre Dame fire was still blazing, French President Macron declared he would personally see to the fundraising and rapid rebuilding of the Cathedral. He said it would start immediately and be fast, not take forever. It appears that he was telling the truth because wealthy French companies jumped into help immediately with funding.

Less than 24 hours after the devastating fire which destroyed a significant portion of the Notre Dame Cathedral, French Billionaires have jumped to the cause and pledged to fund the rebuild starting with France’s richest man. The company VMMHF (owns Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy) and the family of CEO Bernard Arnault made the biggest pledge of €200 million. In addition to the financial assistance, LVMH also offered to make their creative teams and financial groups available for both soliciting donations and helping in the rebuild process.

Total, a major French oil and gas company as well as the Pinault family, which controls French luxury conglomerate Kering (owns Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent), each pledged an additional €100 million ($113 million). Kering brands include Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. That brings the total contribition to €400 million from just these 3 contributions.

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Notre Dame Cathedral on Fire!

We will bring you more info and update this story, but as of now, there is a significant fire that has broken out at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

The most religiously and architecturally significant cathedral on earth.

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According to Paris City Hall, the fire started shortly before 7pm Paris time.

11 to 13 million visitors visit Notre Dame each year. During holy week, it’s absolutely sad that this takes place at this time.

It’s currently undergoing some kind of renovations as you can see from the scaffolding and it’s not known yet whether or not this has played a part in the fire starting. It appears the fire started in the center near the spire where the scaffolding is. Most of the roof is already destroyed in just 30 to 45 minutes.

Live coverage by MSNBC:

Firefighters are currently in the building, but it appears to be completely engulfed in flames. So hard to watch for us here at after we have covered this famous monument for 10 years. With such an old building, it makes sense that it would be this flammable.

The spire has just collapsed through the center. People appear to have been evacuated. But no news on this. Firefighters did enter to fight. It was a busy time just before closing.

The rooftop has been closed for the past year and many of the donors have come from the United States. The inside is crumbling wood and gargoyles have been known to have fallen off the roof as of late.

Update: 8:01pm Paris time. It is completely engulfed in flames. This famous piece of French Architecture is really super damaged. People nearby claim rain showers of ash are coming down. Yesterday with Palm Sunday and this whole week, heavy visitors are scheduled. We’re praying everyone got out. Water trucks appear to be shooting water to try and keep it from the front, but 20 and 30 foot flames are shooting from the top.

The home church of the archdiocese of Paris, Notre Dame has more visitors than even the Eiffel Tower each year.

52 acres of timber was used on the inside. Inside wooden beams actually nicknamed the forest because of so much wood. Nothing left of Notre Dame roof and it makes sense that it would be incredibly flammable. Construction took place in the 12th century.

Update: 8:25 Paris time – the whole roof has now collapsed in flames. Mayor of Paris on the scene and President Macron apparently on the way. Paris currently at a standstill watching several miles of smoke plumes.

The 875 year old building in flames

8:56pm Paris: It seems to have significantly lessened. But still red hot in center. The Church was undergoing a 6 million Euro renovation project.


Thankfully, our prayers have at least been partially answered. The Facade and towers were not destroyed. The roof and cathedral will be rebuilt.

French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking from the scene, described the fire as a “terrible tragedy,” but added the “worst had been avoided.” He noted that the cathedral’s facade and two main towers did not collapse during the fire.

Macron just announced that, starting Tuesday, he will launch an international fundraising campaign to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral.

“I’m telling you all tonight — we will rebuild this cathedral together. This is probably part of the French destiny. And we will do it in the next years. Starting tomorrow, a national donation scheme will be started that will extend beyond our borders,” Macron said. “Paris without Notre Dame? Madness”.

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Notre Dame Cathedral Hotels

Finding a Place to Stay in Paris – Hotels Near The Notre Dame Cathedral

Anyone who’s planning to go to Paris may encounter problems finding hotels to stay in. For the uninformed tourist, they may end up with a costly stay in a mediocre hotel. Knowing what kind of place you’d want to stay and what to expect during the hunt will make your stay in Paris a great experience.

Notre Dame Cathedral Hotel Options:

The Notre Dame Cathedral (which is also known as Notre Dame de Paris which is French for “Our Lady of Paris” and which is also sometimes just referred to as “Notre Dame”) is a Roman Catholic cathedral of historic importance located on the eastern half of Paris’ Île de la Cité.

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Notre Dame Cathedral Paris History including Joan of Arc

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris History including Joan of Arc

Being one of the oldest and most imposing cathedrals in France, the Notre Dame cathedral Paris‘s construction started in the 12th century and was finally finished 300 years later. Having mainly a French Gothic  architecture, but also influenced by the times during the construction (Renaissance, Naturalism); it has a unique and fascinating beauty through its architecture, painting and strength, considering  it survived  over so many years.

During the French Revolution, the Cathedral of Notre Dame suffered lots of damage, but it was restored by a talented engineer and kept its fame. Having symmetrical, powerful beauty, this must-see of Paris has witnessed a lot of important ceremonies for Christianity and the history of nations. Because of that, people from all over the world, no matter what beliefs they have, come to visit it and are stunned by its grace.

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