A Crypt-ic Opening
The Notre Dame Cathedral is slowly reawakening to life this September, 17 months after the terrible fire that devoured its roof.
The archaeological crypt that sits under the courtyard of the cathedral is the first to open with, fittingly, an exhibition on the two 19th century individuals most associated with the Parisian landmark: novelist Victor Hugo, the creator of Quasimido, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and architect Eugene Viollet-Le-Duc, who restored the medieval building and designed the soaring spire that toppled in the 2019 fire.
The exhibition, titled Notre-Dame de Paris, from Victor Hugo to Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, showcases several versions of Hugo’s novel, stills from the various films about the cathedral and pen-and-ink drawings by the novelist. There are also architectural drawings and a bank of striking photographs of the cathedral before, during and after Viollet-le-Duc built the spire.
The 19,000-plus-sq-ft crypt is believed to be the largest in Europe. It is not officially linked to the cathedral and contains remains from archaeological discoveries made during excavations in the 1960s.
The cathedral is off-limits to the visitors coming in to see the show at the crypt. Very few people have dropped in so far, but the organizers hope that will change. Anyway, they have time: the exhibit is open to all and will run till the end of 2022.