La Cité des Cloches (The City of Bells in English) is a world in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance and Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory. It is based on the 1996 Disney film The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
La Cité des Cloches contains several separate areas, some of which are different for each character. In both stories however, the central area of the world is the Square, the area directly in front of the large Cathedral which dominates the skyline of the city. This location is decorated with numerous tents and banners, along with a stage. The top portion of the Cathedral is also considered part of the Square. There is however, no save point in this area. The Cathedral itself is composed of the Nave, which is the main part of the building, and the Bell Tower, which consists of numerous platforms, part way up which hang the Cathedral's two large bells.
In Sora's story, the opposite direction from the Cathedral gives way to the Town, beyond which is the Bridge, a long pathway leading to the Outskirts, an area which appears to be more deprived than that of the Town area. From here, the Graveyard Gate can be accessed, and through this, the Tunnels. At the exit of the Tunnels lies the Old Graveyard, through which access can be gained to another underground section: the Catacombs. From here, entrance can be gained to the secret Court of Miracles, the place of refuge which the gypsies of the city have taken for their own.
In Riku's story, the main accessible areas are much the same, except that from the Outskirts, the only area available is the Windmill, a large, almost swamp-like area, the only noticeable feature aside from the cliffs and a view back to the city itself being a small cottage, beside which sits a windmill.
Between Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts
Sometime after Terra-Xehanort's complete descent into darkness, his Heartless, Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, attacked many worlds and swallowed them into darkness. One of these worlds was La Cité des Cloches. Though it was restored after Sora defeated Ansem and destroyed the End of the World, La Cité des Cloches remained in a state of deep sleep instead of returning to the Realm of Light, and was plagued by evil Nightmare Dream Eaters.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
- Sora's Side
Sora arrives in La Cite des Cloches and walks past Judge Claude Frollo. The judge stops him, believing him to be a gypsy, due to his unusual clothing. Captain Phoebus arrives, annoying Frollo, because he was in the middle of an interrogation with a "gypsy". Phoebus states that Sora is "Just a boy", but is reminded he had something to tell Frollo; he quickly explains that "monsters" have invaded the main square, in which the Festival of Fools is being held. Sora announces that he'll take care of the monsters, before running off, as a concerned Phoebus chases after him. Frollo mutters to himself how he's worked for decades to get rid of gypsies, and that now there is even more disgusting vermin threatening "law and order." Darkness emanates from him as his dark desires fester in his heart.
Reaching Notre Dame, Sora sees Quasimodo riding a Nightmare-type Dream Eater, which is a Zolephant, and yells for him to run for safety. However, Quasimodo gently refuses, saying that he can't, as he's been made the King of Fools (a rather ironic title as he is being foolish for staying on top a dangerous monster). A Komory Bat flies at Phoebus, who easily dispatches it with his sword. Frollo then arrives at the square, and upon seeing Quasimodo, says his name in anger. Quasimodo cowers in fear at the judge's voice, making the Zolephant's eye glow, before throwing Quasimodo off its back. Surrounding by Nightmares, Quasimodo is left musing that nothing ever turns out the way he wants it to. A beautiful gypsy woman named Esmeralda appears and helps Quasimodo up, before they flee into the Notre Dame cathedral; Phoebus smiles at this, seeing the good in both Sora and Esmerelda while Frollo curses the woman as a "gypsy witch."
Sora dispatches the Nightmares, before beginning to wonder what Quasimodo is doing. He goes inside the cathedral and heads up to the Bell Tower, where he watches Quasimodo show off the bells to Esmeralda. Smiling, Sora guesses "Quasi" is going to be okay. No sooner does he say this, three gargoyles come to life, agreeing with his statement. Sora appears to be shocked by the fact that the gargoyles can talk. Not noticing Sora, Quasimodo tells Esmeralda that she can stay in Notre Dame because she has sanctuary, which prevents Frollo from arresting her. However, Esmeralda says gypsies can't stand being confined, prompting Quasi to assist her in escaping. As Frollo would be guarding the entrances, Quasi takes Esmerala out by climbing down the cathedral. Once they're gone, Victor, Hugo, and Laverne (The gargoyles) explain how and why Quasimodo lives in the bell tower, mainly out of fear that he would be despised because of his ugly appearance. Feeling sympathetic, Sora decides to help out.
Reaching the outside, Sora runs into Captain Phoebus, who he remembers was with Frollo. Phoebus tells Sora he isn't looking for a fight, calming him down before commenting with: "Finally, someone sensible." Once Sora explains that Esmeralda has escaped, Phoebusis doesn't appear to be very happy. He explains that Frollo is obsessed with destroying the gypsies. When Phoebus opposed Frollo's actions, he was stripped of his rank and banished from the town guard. Sora feels sorry for Phoebus, but is told it doesn't matter; what does matter is that Frollo has found the gypsies' safe haven, the Court of Miracles. Watching from near by, Quasimodo drops a pendant in shock, attracting Sora and Phoebus's attention. Phoebus asks where Esmeralda is, only for Quasimodo to say that she vanished into the streets. He shows them the pendant, explaining Esmeralda said it would help them find her; he remembers Esmeralda said "When you wear this woven band, you hold the city in your hand." This makes him realise that it's a map of the city, and the symbol on it is the location of the Court of Miracles.
All three soon arrive in the Court of Miracles, surprising Esmeralda. Phoebus and Quasimodo quickly explain that Frollo will arrive soon, and that she must leave with whatever she can take. However, no sooner do they finish their warning, Meow Wows and Wheeflowers surround them; Frollo had tricked Phoebus and Quasi into leading him to the Court of Miracles. He cruelly tells Phoebus that he performed just as expected and that he knew Quasimodo would some day be of use. Frollo grabs Esmeralda, telling her that there'll be a "bonfire" in the town square. Angered by Frollo's cruelty, Sora charges at him, only for Frollo's darkness to surge; something comes up from behind Sora and knocks him out. Sora awakens to find that he is alone in the Court of Miracles. Seeing this, he quickly leaves to stop Frollo.
Reaching the square, Sora sees Frollo preparing to burn Esmeralda at the stake; however, Quasimodo punctually swings down from the cathedral, rescuing Esmeralda and taking her back inside. He claims sanctuary to keep her safe; however, the infuriated Frollo doesn't care about the claim and charges inside. Sora attempts to follow, but the Wargoyle nightmare falls from the sky and smashes the fire, blocking Sora from going anywhere until its defeat.
Above, Frollo reveals the truth about how Quasimodo came into his care, before attempting to strike the hunchback down with his sword. However, both fall over the edge and barely manage to grab something. While Esmeralda holds onto Quasi, Frollo stands on top a gargoyle head to strike both; however, the outcropping begins giving way. Frollo loses his balance, grabbing the statue's head. Either as a result of his madness or its life, (Victor, Hugo and Laverne are examples of this) the gargoyle snarls at Frollo as it snaps off and both plummet into the flames below. Esmeralda loses her grip on Quasi, but Phoebus arrives and manages to pull him up. A grateful Quasimodo hugs his new friend, as Esmeralda walks up to them. Quasimodo joins Phoebus and Esmeralda's hands, showing he wants them to be together.
Esmeralda and Phoebus head outside as Quasimodo looks on. Sora tries explaining that Quasi shouldn't let his heart be a prison, but is stopped mid-sentence; Quasimodo now has the courage to see what lies outside the walls that he has lived in for the past twenty years. Looking at a statue in the Nave, Sora thinks about how Quasimodo allowed himself to be trapped in the nightmares Frollo gave him. Preparing to leave, Sora encounters Young Xehanort, who calls him a hypocrite for freeing one prisoner while having another in his heart; Vanitas is also seen briefly alongside the younger version of Xehanort. Confused at the appearance of someone whom he doesn't recognize, Sora watches Young Xehanort leave.
The Sleeping Keyhole appears and Sora unlocks it, left to think about Young Xehanort's strange message.
- Riku's Side
Riku arrives in town, just following Captain Phoebus's failed attempt to capture the gypsy: Esmeralda, who vanished into a puff of smoke, escaping from the Captain. She reappears, passing Riku, who is strolling through the streets. Captain Phoebus appears, asking him if he's seen a gypsy woman. Not knowing what a gypsy is, Riku says that he hasn't. Phoebus returns to Frollo, informing him of his failure. Obviously annoyed, Frollo says he's starting to question summoning Phoebus back from the wars. Once both are gone, Esmeralda comes out of hiding and introduces herself to Riku, thanking him for "Standing up for her". He explains why he said that he hadn't seen a gypsy before, inquiring about what was happening. Esmeralda explains that gypsies are guilty of nothing but loving freedom, but Frollo hates anything he can't control; she'd hate to know what kind of darkness is driving the judge. Having had experience with being controlled by darkness, Riku asks her if Frollo was also like this; she instructs him to go to Notre Dame as it's a place for answers.
Inside, Riku calls out to see if anyone is around. Quasimodo responds, explaining the Archdeacon is away. However, Riku explains that he is looking for Frollo, prompting Quasimodo to turn around before explaining that Frollo had business on the outskirts of the city. When Riku asks if Quasi knows Frollo, Quasi explains that Frollo is kind and saved his life some time in the past, and continues to protect him from the outside world. This shocks Riku, who hears Quasimodo say that others will consider him a monster because of his deformed appearance. Having been in the form of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, yet accepted by Sora and Kairi, Riku tells Quasimodo that he should go outside and make some friends that understand him; a true friend sees you for the person you are no matter what face you wear. When Quasimodo shows hesitation, Riku tells him to ask his heart for the answer. Riku thanks Quasi and leaves, laughing to himself on how he can't take his own advice.
Having learned that Frollo is now on the outside of the city to conduct business, Riku quickly makes to follow after him. On his way to the outskirts, a Dream Eater called the Wargoyle appears and fires fireballs repeatedly at Riku. Unable to retaliate against this air-born foe, Riku is left with no other choice but to run. Elsewhere, Captain Phoebus stands in front of a house, blocking Frollo from entering. When told to stand aside, Phoebus refuses and demands to know what crime the family inside the house has committed. Frollo says they harbored gypsies, saying that he is unable to see a crime greater than that. Riku arrives, with the Wargoyle following; it hovers behind Frollo. Phoebus calls it a demon, but Frollo calls it "righteous judgement" and that he has been given the power to summon Nightmares to smite all gypsies. Phoebus tries telling Frollo he is wrong, but Riku explains that once one has fallen that far into darkness, there is barely any chance of coming back. Insulted, Frollo says he is a virtuous man, and that good and evil shall be made plain once the gypsies face the "fires of judgement." Frollo leaves with the Wargoyle, but when Phoebus tries stopping it, it hits him aside. Wounded, Phoebus laughs that it's embarrassing that he has to rely on a kid for help; Riku jokes that he isn't the first one to have to do so, and is told that the Wargoyle is heading back to Notre Dame.
At the square, Riku finds Quasimodo holding Esmeralda, having saved her from being burned at the stake. Quasi tells Riku that the Wargoyle is above them, and tries to go with Riku, but is told to protect Esmeralda instead. Right before leaving, Riku asks Quasimodo if his heart had the answer, to which Quasi nods in agreement. Riku then runs inside to find the three gargoyles fighting off Nightmares in the form of Meow Wows. Before leaving to go to and find Frollo, he comments that the three of them seem to have the situation covered. Above, Frollo watches the city burn, believing that the flames will purge everything impure. Frollo says that the all-consuming fire is the power that has been granted to him. However, Riku flatly tells Frollo, "All I see is a sad, old man with a dark heart." Enraged, Frollo decides to pass "judgement" on Riku, summoning his fire-creating Dream Eater. Wargoyle's arrival causes a shock wave that knocks Frollo off the balcony and into the inferno below. As the judge falls to hid death, he shouts that judgment is his.
After the death of Frollo, Riku encounters Young Xehanort and his unexpected companion: Xehanort's Heartless. Young Xehanort explains that "Ansem" is Riku's best friend, so he's never far away. Ansem explains Frollo's fate is what happens to those who succumb to darkness, making Riku sourly joke "You could write a book about that." However, Ansem says that he embraces the darkness, and that if Riku doesn't learn to do the same, he'll meet with the same fate as Frollo. Riku defends himself, saying that he walks the 'Road to Dawn'. Young Xehanort only says that Riku is still afraid of the darkness and leaves through a dark corridor. Ansem does the same, giving one final look at Riku. Riku thinks about how he fears the darkness, saying that as long as he has a Keyblade, it will guide him to the light, before turning to face the Wargoyle.
Upon defeating the Dream Eater, Riku finds Captain Phoebus, Esmeralda, and Quasimodo in the square. Quasi explains he can't blame Frollo for putting walls around him, but the real walls were the ones he built around his heart; he thanks Riku for helping him see that fact. Remembering when he felt the same, Riku says he was speaking from personal experience. Phoebus says it sounds like Riku still keeps a lot locked inside, but Esmeralda says that everyone does it sometimes, explaining that it's okay to do so until Riku can sort out the things that he wants kept separate from the outside.
When everyone leaves, Riku looks at the circular window of the cathedral, having one last vision of Ansem and stating that he knows the path his heart walks. The Sleeping Keyhole appears on the window and Riku unlocks it, releasing the world from its slumber.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
The Sceptre and the Kingdom
This world first appeared in The Sceptre and the Kingdom, but is not considered a canonical appearance.
Sora and Riku arrive here by mistake when Donald is unable to send them to their actual destination during the chase of the villain who stole the scepter of Disney Fairies from Disney Castle.
Once in the city, the two young men fall on Judge Frollo, and since they appear out of nowhere, they are considered necromancers. They flee from Frollo, and Esmeralda saves them from death. Esmeralda leads them to the Cathedral of Notre Dame, where they meet Quasimodo. Finally, asking about how to find a door to their world, the gargoyle Laverne guides them towards their true destiny.
- This is the only world to have a dream's time progression; where it seems to skip ahead with parts missing. In Sora's story, Phoebus is banished from the guard shortly after Quasimodo is helped back to Notre Dame by Esmeralda. Esmeralda mentions guards making sure to catch her if she leaves, despite the fact Frollo was nowhere to be seen after Sora clears the Nightmares. At the Court of Miracles, only Esmeralda is there and Frollo uses Nightmares instead of soldiers.
- In Riku's story, Frollo goes mad with power from getting Wargoyle under his command and starts burning Paris to the ground to purify it.
- Its unknown why the world wasn't simply called The City of Bells to begin with; instead of using the French translation as the official name.