After the French Revolution in 1789, Notre-Dame and the rest of the church’s property in France was seized and made public property. The cathedral was rededicated in 1793 to the Cult of Reason, and then to the Cult of the Supreme Being in 1794. During this time, many of the treasures of the cathedral were either destroyed or plundered. The twenty-eight statues of biblical kings located at the west façade, mistaken for statues of French kings, were beheaded.
Popular interest in the cathedral blossomed soon after the 1831 publication of Victor Hugo’s novel Notre-Dame de Paris (better known in English as *The Hunchback of Notre-Dame).
This led to a major restoration project between 1844 and 1864, supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The Allied liberation of Paris in 1944 was celebrated within Notre-Dame with the singing of the Magnificat. Beginning in 1963, the cathedral’s façade was cleaned of centuries of soot and grime. Another cleaning and restoration project was carried out between 1991 and 2000.
While undergoing renovation and restoration, the roof of Notre-Dame caught fire on the evening of 15 April 2019. Burning for around 15 hours, the cathedral sustained serious damage, including the destruction of the flèche (the timber spirelet over the crossing) and most of the lead-covered wooden roof above the stone vaulted ceiling.
Stabilizing the structure against possible collapse was completed in November 2020, with reconstruction beginning in 2021. The government of France hopes the reconstruction can be completed by Spring 2024, in time for the opening of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.