A hunchback’s dream: Returning Paris’ Notre Dame to glory; AFP

France – Paris, Banks of the Seine

Victor Hugo would be appalled to see the ravages inflicted by time, pollution and weather on his beloved Notre Dame, the soaring cathedral that adorns the heart of Paris.

The celebrated French novelist wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame, published in 1831, largely to draw attention to the glories of Gothic architecture, which in his day was often neglected or disfigured by modern additions.

With its twin towers, stained-glass windows, gargoyles and flying buttresses ― a colossal achievement that took more than a century to complete ― the cathedral is a Unesco World Heritage site that draws between 12 and 14 million visitors each year.

Though the French government currently spends €2 million (RM9.7million) a year for maintenance work, the conservation to-do list is growing long.

Gargoyles that have lost their heads have been fixed up with unsightly plastic tubes for water drainage.

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