The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1939, 1956, 1982, 1996

With many depictions of the trials and tribulations of the marginalized Quasimodo and his quest for love, all of these film versions capture the cathedral's grandeur and importance in French culture. While the films are in black and white, we're drawn to the lights and shadows falling across the cathedral, making it seem even more awe-inspiring. The 1939 movie, featuring Maureen O'Hara and Charles Laughton, strays from the original book, so you might be tempted by Anthony Hopkins' performance in the 1982 version, but for kids, the 1996 Disney musical adaptation (in beautiful color) is perfect.

The Three Musketeers

The more recent 2011 version of the tale of those famous musketeers with their impressive sword fighting skills sees the hero d'Artagnan fight with the scar-faced Comte de Rochefort at the top of the cathedral.

An American in Paris

This 1951 musical, which picked up six Academy Awards, takes us on a tour of the City of Lights with Notre Dame playing an impressive role as a perfect backdrop for Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron as they dance through the streets.


In this 1963 version of a rom-com with a touch of Hitchcock, the characters played by lead actors Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn meet up in front of the cathedral. Here we get a beautiful side view of the building, all along the nave, the roof of which was destroyed in the fire. The overall image of the Hollywood icons with the glorious cathedral is stunning. (While this production still is black-and-white, the film is in color.)


This 1998 live-action version of the story of the mischievous orphan and her life in Paris is a great choice for the family. Look out for one incident where Madeline is walking along a ledge, loses her balance and falls into the River Seine. Thankfully the only thing she suffers afterwards is a cold, but you'll get a great view of Notre Dame in the background.


For Disney/Pixar fans, the fabulous Ratatouille is worth watching. Not only will your children be inspired to follow their dreams -- like Remy the rat who desires to be a chef -- they'll also get to see a touch of France and the beautiful cathedral during Remy's adventures.