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How Notre Dame, ‘Vast Symphony In Stone,’ Weaves Its Way Through Parisian History

It gained a crucial celebrity advocate in Victor Hugo. The author believed strongly in the value of architectural preservation, and wrote Notre Dame de Paris as a restoration campaign. Hugo’s wistful, achingly human tragedy of the hunchback named Quasimodo who both lives in and stands for the cathedral itself, ringing its iconic bells and offering sanctuary to a beautiful gypsy named Esmeralda helped spur on public support for the building that led to a major renovation in the 19th century. The gargoyles and the spire were added; the beheaded kings were re-headed. The novel remains a gateway into the majesty of Notre Dame today. “I was so fascinated by this idea of Notre Dame de Paris as a kind of Quasimodo itself, an amalgamation of different types of architectural styles accumulated over the centuries and centered by this bright, cyclops eye that was its rose window,” said Leigh Giangreco, a reporter at The Capitol Forum who studied in Paris in 2012 and recalled reading Hugo’s book while viewing the cathedral across the Seine… (READ MORE)


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