In the nineteenth century the bohemian artist became a recognized figure representing a counterculture of artists, musicians, poets and writers. This character defied categorical definition by refusing to subscribe to the mainstream norms of the bourgeois-ruled society in nineteenth-century Paris. Many critics argue that these bohemian artists originally modelled their own lifestyle after that of the Gypsy, or Romany. Was this lifestyle also a trait appropriated from the “real bohemians,” or Gypsies? Or was it rather the product of the constructed myth surrounding the Gypsy figure, projected onto the Gypsy in order to create and justify a modern artistic identity? The paper explores these questions by analogizing La Esmeralda in Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris with Theophile Gautier’s Bohemians in Les Jeunes-France. The analysis deconstructs the myth of the Gypsy as public entertainer and spectacular object through historical publications from the nineteenth century.