"the Cathedral of Notre Dame, with Victor Hugo's noble romance for our guide"
Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris
GNU Free Documentation LicenseCathedral of Notre Dame in Paris - Credit: Jens Peter Clausen

Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Paris’ fourth arrondissement.  It is the official chair of the Archbishop of Paris.  The cathedral treasury is purported to house the crown of thorns, a fragment of the True Cross, and one of the Holy Nails of the crucifixion. 

The church is built in a Gothic style.  Construction began in 1163 and went on until 1345.  It was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports), which are populated by statues of gargoyles and chimeras. 

The cathedral has a narrow climb of 387 steps, the top of which provides a spectacular view across Paris.


Illustration from 1881 edition of The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Public DomainIllustration from 1881 edition of The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Credit: Luc-Olivier Merson

Victor Hugo published The Hunchback of Notre-Dame in 1831. It tells the tragic tale of Quasimodo and Esmeralda.