À la recherche de Notre Dame


A sound journey through space and time realized within the framework of the multidisciplinary research projects PHÉ and PHEND - The Past Has Ears at Notre-Dame aiming in particular at the acoustic reconstitution of the cathedral and its soundscapes across the centuries.

An audio fiction

Listen to a 6mn teaser with headphones (3D audio using binaural technology).

4 episodes of approximately 10 minutes in French and English

Looking for Notre Dame is a 3D sound experience that takes us into the mind of a young Victor Hugo as he begins his research for his future “cathedral novel”, Notre-Dame de Paris. The year is 1828, Hugo is 26 years old, and Notre-Dame was then a church in a dilapidated state. It would only be renovated by Viollet-le-Duc and Jean-Baptiste Lassus in 1843. Notre-Dame was dying, and Hugo wanted to resurrect it as it had been in the Middle Ages.

The legendary author transports us into an investigation/experiment on the sounds of Notre-Dame, allowing us to explore its acoustics and soundscapes over the centuries.

written by Timothée de Fombelle and Nelly Labere, directed by Laurence Courtois
With Gaël Kamilindi • Clara Ponsot • James Borniche • Jemima West • Gabriel Dufay • Kester Lovelace • Pauline Ziadé • Chloé Baker • Elsa Parent-Koenig Prises de son : Jean-Baptiste Aubonnet • Bruitages : Elodie Fiat • Montage : Simon Cacheux • Mixage 3D : Jean-Marc Lyzwa


An immersive installation

A video projection accompanies the sound presentation like a luminous soundtrack, which highlights listening to the acoustics, linking the sound with the evolution of the architecture of the cathedral.



A mixing/rendering tool developed within the project to facilitate the spatial staging of the site’s acoustics.

Développement : Peter Stitt, David Poirier-Quinot

PHE/ND – The Past Has Ears at Notre-Dame

Brian F.G. Katz [@]
Editorial council
Nelly labere
Timothée de Fombelle
Laurence Courtois
Sound design and editing
Simon Cacheux
Jean-Marc Lizwa
Cécile Cros [@]
Pierre Picard


ANR Cultural Heritage CNRS Sorbonne Université CNSMDP MSH Lyon St-Étienne Sunmetron

With the support of the Agence Nationale de Recherche, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the European Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage.