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More than a cathedral: How Notre Dame has featured in film and fiction

Charles Laughton as Quasimodo in 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame', taken in 1939. Credit: PA

The historic Parisian landmark of Notre Dame is not just a place of worship, as the imposing structure has inspired best-selling authors and Hollywood filmmakers.

The 850-year-old Gothic architecture has long been a focal point for tales of love and romance.

Among the most famous is Victor Hugo's 1831 novel 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame', which tells the story of bellringer Quasimodo and his pursuit of the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda.

Hugo describes the cathedral as a "central mother church . . . It has the head of one, the limbs of another, the haunches of another, something of all”.

The story has gone on to become a key text within French literature and is widely credited with helping to raise funds for the structure's refurbishment in the 19th century.

The younger audience will no doubt remember the Disney film, for its timeless remake of Hugo's novel.

Disney also features the landmark in its movie Ratatouille, with central character Linguini passing by the cathedral twice, and a glimpse of Notre Dame appears in the 2017 live-action remake of Beauty And The Beast.

A gargoyle sits on top of the iconic Notre Dame building in Paris. Credit: AP

French romantic comedy film Amelie, released in 2001, uses Notre Dame as the location for the death of the main character’s mother, while the characters of Jerry and Lise in the 1951 film An American In Paris share a romantic dance on the banks of the Seine in the shadow of the cathedral.

The location is a popular spot in films for scenes showing main characters falling in love or taking a romantic stroll.

he Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris following a fire which destroyed much of the building on Monday evening. Credit: PA

Notre Dame also appeared in Woody Allen’s Oscar-nominated 2011 film Midnight In Paris.

Meanwhile, several painters have been inspired by the beauty of Notre Dame, with the cathedral immortalised in works by Picasso and Matisse.