Closed to the public since the fire that damaged much of the Notre-Dame Cathedral on 15 April 2019, the crypt under the court-yard is to reopen with an exhibition entitled “Notre-Dame de Paris: From Victor Hugo to Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.”
The crypt is scheduled to re-open to the public on Wednesday September 9th. The exhibition shows how the works of both, Hugo and Viollet-le-Duc, were crucial in triggering the process that would turn the 500 year-old cathedral into a unique powerful symbol. There is also a segment of how the church that had been abandoned was restored in the 19th century.
The cathedral’s relevance grew in large part thanks to Hugo’s novel, which influenced Viollet-le-Duc’s restoration efforts between 1844-1864. The spire from 1250 was taken down in 1786 for example, while during the Revolution, the statues of kings were destroyed
The new exhibition features old photos taken by artists such as Charles Marville, Charles Nègre, Auguste Mestral, among others. There are paintings, film extracts, references to Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel Notre-Dame of Paris, as well as modern-day cartoons.
The church had been closed off since the fire due to the cleaning activities needed to get rid of the lead pollution and dust.
As well as the exhibition, visitors will be able to see Gallo-Roman ruins in the center of the crypt, including baths, a rampart, and a boatman’s shrine, known as Le Pilier de Nautes, discovered 1960.
The cathedral can’t yet be visited but there is a virtual visit available, with the company Flyview. It is virtual reality tour that offers visitors a peek into what the damage the fire caused.