Notre-Dame de Paris exhibition at the Archeological Crypt of the Île de la Cité, from 9th September 2020

If you don’t know this museum, hidden beneath the square in front of Notre-Dame (very close to our hotels), here’s a great excuse to pop by.

The archeological crypt of the Île de la Cité, which has been closed since the fire in April 2019, is reopening with a new exhibition paying homage to the cathedral and explaining its history in the time of Victor Hugo.

It might be hard to imagine, but at the beginning of the 19th century, Notre-Dame was already 500 years old, and the building was in such a bad state of repair that there was talk of having it demolished. It was only when Victor Hugo published his famous book about the cathedral in 1831 that a movement gained traction to save it, and soon afterwards a restoration programme was launched, directed by famed French architect Viollet-Le-Duc.

Exhibition Notre-Dame de Paris - from Victor Hugo to Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc at the Archeological Crypt fo the Île de la Cité, from 9th September 2020
© Maisons de Victor Hugo / Paris Musées

The exhibition follows the 20 year-long building work, illustrated with drawings, 3D reconstitutions and a process that was brand new back then – photography.

You’ll see how Notre-Dame and the area around it have changed in 150 years, and extracts of a new film called Notre-Dame Éternelle are shown throughout, mixing interviews with spectacular views of the monument before and after the fire.

Exhibition Notre-Dame de Paris - from Victor Hugo to Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc at the Archeological Crypt fo the Île de la Cité, from 9th September 2020
© Musée Carnavalet–Histoire de Paris / Paris Musées

Guided visits of the exhibition are on offer in English every Tuesday at 10.30am, and every Saturday at 2.30pm (in French) you can take part in a walk around the area called Notre-Dame au fil des siècles (Notre-Dame over the centuries) during which you’ll discover how the neighbourhood around the cathedral and the edifice itself have changed over time.

For more info about all the activities on offer, and a link to book your tour, click here.

Exhibition Notre-Dame de Paris - from Victor Hugo to Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc at the Archeological Crypt fo the Île de la Cité, from 9th September 2020

The exhibition Notre-Dame de Paris – from Victor Hugo to Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc is at the Archeological Crypt of the Île de la Cité (here) from 9th September 2020

Open every day except Mondays (and certain public holidays) from 10am-6pm

Admission: 9€ / 7€ / free for under-18s

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