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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Mailbag: “Who to see when you visit France…”

March 18, 2013

Dear Michael,

We are going to France in August for my daughter's wedding (to a Frenchman), and we will have 3 days in Paris. What organs should we most try to hear? This assumes that organists will not all be on vacation and that they might play something on a weekday, since we will be there Tuesday evening until Saturday. Can you please help us?

Thank you,

Victoria English

Dear Victoria,

You are correct, August is a bad month, as many musicians (and others) take Vacation that month. And, even in the best of times, hearing organs in concert during the week is rare…most concerts are given on Sundays.

In Paris, the instruments of note are Notre Dame Cathedral (Louis Vierne), Saint Sulpice (Widor and Dupre), St. Clothilde (Franck, Tournemire and Langlais), St. Severin (Couperin family), St. Eustache (Bonnet, Marchal, Guillou), Le Madeleine (Saint-Saens, Faure), Trinite (Messiaen), Sacre Coeur. The organ in the Chapel at Versailles is lovely, too. Check this website to locate some of these churches and instruments.

But, again, the chance of your hearing any of these is slim, unfortunately, if you are not in Paris over a weekend.

Have a great trip!




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