Notre Dame Crypt Reopened After 2019 Fire

Notre Dame Crypt Reopened After 2019 Fire

With the Notre Dame Crypt opening to public for the first time since the 2019 fire, let us look at the Cathedral and its history.

Crux of the Matter

On 9 September 2020, the archaeological Crypt under the courtyard of the Notre Dame was reopened after the roof of the cathedral was damaged and the spire collapsed due to fire in April 2019. A thorough cleaning was performed and Covid-19 safety measures were added before opening the monument to the public.

The monument opened with new exhibition on 2 famous men:

  • Victor Hugo: Novelist who popularized the Cathedral in France through his novel Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame).
  • Eugène Viollet-le-Duc: Created the famous spire in Notre Dame which collapsed in the 2019 Fire.

It is the most visited monument in France with around 13 million visitors per year. The importance of the spire of the monument was observed when the French Government decided to reconstruct the spire exactly as before the fire.


  • 1163: The first stone of the monument was laid by Pope Alexander III.
  • Several Gothic elements integrated into the construction.
  • 1345: The cathedral was complete. However, the cathedral was insignificant for the monarchy in the early years.
  • Henry VI of England was the only medieval monarch to be crowned (crowned in 1431) there (during the 100 years war between England and France).
  • Middle ages: Annual event ‘Feast of Fools’ occurred at the Notre Dame, where a person from a lower social class was made a ‘mock Archbishop’ who conducted the proceedings for the day.
  • 1789: Monument was severely damaged by revolutionaries of the ‘French Revolution’, who considered the monument a symbol of monarchy.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte initiated the restoration of the monument and was crowned as the Emperor in 1804 in the monument.
  • 1831: Hugo published the Notre-Dame de Paris which evoked public interest towards the monument.
  • Architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc worked for the restoration of the monument and added the spire to it.
  • 1850s: Baron Haussmann, employed by Napoleon III, demolished houses and structures near Notre Dame to increase the visibility and mark its importance.
  • Bells of the monument rang at the end of World War II as well as for the commemoration of 9/11 victims.

  • The 2014 video game, Assassin’s Creed Unity, has a detailed virtual recreation of Notre Dame in it; which took almost a year to be created by the developers. Soon after the 2019 disaster, theories started coming up of how the game can help rebuild the structure. Although the idea was quickly dismissed by historians as the video game developers did take some artistic liberty while recreating the monument.
  • Maurice de Sully was Bishop of Paris from 1160 until his retirement in 1196. He was responsible for the construction of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. 
  • Donations of over €1 billion have been pledged for the cathedral’s reconstruction. Arnault family (LVMH) & Bettencourt family (L’Oréal) pledged €200 Million each.