Notre-Dame de Paris: Organ Restoration Has Begun

August 17, 2020

The removal of the Grand organ from the Paris cathedral has just started. While the instrument was spared by the April 15, 2019 fire, its condition requires careful restoration which should be completed in 2024.

“It was a very delicate phase, a source of great stress for all of us,” Christian Lutz, consultant technician for historic monuments explained in the columns of Figaro on August 1, 2020.

Restoration work on the large organs began with the removal of the instrument console, made of oak and weighing a half-ton comprising five keyboards for the hands, one for the feet, and 115 stops. Spared by the fire, the instrument is clogged with soot and dust.

It took 25 minutes to bring the ensemble down thirteen meters below. But the most important work is still to come, the task of “disassembling each of the 8,000 pipes of the instrument’s 115 stops” to clean them, General Jean-Louis Georgelin, president of the public establishment responsible for the restoration of Notre-Dame, outlined for AFP.

The soldier mentioned that the schedule decided by President Emmanuel Macron will be respected, since “we have long prepared and planned this meticulous operation so that the great organ can resonate on April 16, 2024.”

Another challenge is that of analogous conservation and restoration. The storage conditions will be essential so that “all the harmony, all the original sound of the organ will remain intact after the procedures,” adds Mario d'Amico, the site manager.

The Notre-Dame de Paris organ dates back to 1733. It is the largest in France, along with that of St. Eustache.