Notre Dame de Paris





Like most Victor Hugo tales, this is the story of a whole gamut of characters (Quasimodo the bellringer, Frollo the priest in charge of the cathedral, Phoebus the soldier in charge of public order, Fleur-de-Lys his young fiancée, Clopin the “king” of the gypsies, Gringoire the poet who recounts the story, and of course Esmeralda the gypsy girl with whom most of the male characters fall in love) whose destinies are intertwined and whose actions impact on one another’s lives.

In many ways Les Misérables resembles this tale and deals with similar themes, though Notre Dame preceded Les Misérables by some 30 years.

So, what is it all about? This is the tale of a young man, dreadfully disfigured and handicapped, whose inner beauty, kindness and compassion drive him to rebel against the order and faith he has known since childhood. Love drives him to try to save a young woman, falsely accused of murder, from the gallows.

It is also a story of principle, temptation, faith, greed, jealousy, love, abuse of power, corruption and compassion.

Quasimodo is the touching anti-hero, Esmeralda the tragic heroine, and Frollo the contemptible yet human villain.

Through this tale, Hugo describes various facets of society and human nature. He invites us to reflect on the way we look on others, and to consider the impact our actions have on the lives of others.





The Writing Task


You should aim to produce 150 – 200 words. To help structure your writing, you should use the following bullet points:


·                    Give a brief outline of the story

·                    Describe the main character(s) in some detail

·                    Say what happened in your favourite scene

·                    Choose a theme from the film and discuss it

·                    Give your general opinion of the film


When you come to write about “Notre Dame de Paris”, apart from making use of the vocabulary lists provided, you should pay attention to the structures and vocabulary contained in the questions, and use some of them in your answers.


In giving an outline of the story it might be a good idea to use the present tense. This is often used in French to describe events in a book or film.


When describing characters, you should be aware of a variety of possible responses to them, and use a selection of adjectives to describe them. Avoid simple lists and you might want to provide a brief account of some events.


The description of your favourite scene could be written in the perfect tense.


Discussing themes and your general response to the film provides the opportunity to develop your own ideas and your own language to communicate these ideas. Remember to express yourself as clearly as possible.


1)      Pourquoi est-ce que Frollo demande à Quasimodo d’enlever Esmeralda?

2)   Pourquoi est-ce que Quasimodo mène une révolte contre Frollo?

3)   Comment est-ce qu’on peut décrire les personnages principaux?

4)   Quelle était votre scène préférée?

5)   Qu’avez-vous pensé de cette comédie musicale en général?


1)         il trouve que                              représenter

            dangereux(se)                           la tentation

            avoir peur de                            tomber amoureux de

            se débarrasser de                     une menace


2)         accuser de                                essayer de

            tuer                                          assassiner

            faussement                                innocent(e)

            réfléchir à                                 la justice

            devoir                                       plus important que …

            l’amour                                     finir par


3)         laid                                           froid

            gentil                                        intelligent                     

            compatissant                             rusé

            sensible                                    peureux

            devoué                                     fier

            tendre                                       décidé

            fort                                           égoiste

humain                                      instable

altruiste                                     sûr de lui


4)                  Ma scène préférée était celle où ….


5)                  J’ai trouvé ce spectacle …        Ce spectacle m’a

émouvant                                  fait réfléchir

touchant                                   plu

long                                          ému     

intéressant                                fait pleurer