The book first appeared in 1831 and helped save the central Paris landmark which, at the time, was in a serious state of dilapidation.
Now, Hugo’s classic is at the top of the Amazon best-seller list, and the various publishers have promised to contribute some or all of their profits to the re-building fund.
The paperback version by Folio has had a 30,000-volume cheap reprint, 5.60 euros down from 10.20, with all profits going to the national collection. Folio think they’ll manage between 50,000 and 100,000 euros. Livre de Poche have a new version selling at 4.40 and have promised to give 1 euro to the fund for every volume sold.
Fund-raising concerts and television specials are already in the works, with a possible once-off reunion of the original cast of the 1998 musical comedy Notre-Dame de Paris being evoked by the Canadian producer Luc Plamondon. An on-line petition in favour of such a performance has already collected 40,000 signatures.
In November, 2015, following the Bataclan terrorist attack in which 130 people lost their lives, Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, a memoir of the American novelist’s early days in the French capital, became a best-seller under the title Paris est une fête.