The grand pipe organ of the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre is unanimously considered to be one of the most remarkable in Paris, France and Europe. Built in 1898, it is the last great instrument built by the illustrious Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.
It was originally commissioned by Baron Albert de l’Espée for his enormous château in Biarritz. He wanted the best available, regardless of expense. He sold the organ a few years later to Charles Mutin, Cavaillé’s successor. The Basilica acquired it in 1919.
The instrument has four keyboards, a pedalboard and 78 stops and retains its original mechanical key actions.
The imposing size, rare quality of manufacture and unique sound quality have been officially recognized by the French state, which classified it as a national monument in 1981.
The grand organ of the Sacré-Cœur has undergone several restorations. The most recent, begun in 1985, is unfortunately incomplete; only the most severely damaged pneumatic parts have been replaced, the others have rapidly deteriorated and are now unused due to wear and tear. The pipes are covered in a thick layer of dust that adversely impacts on pitch and timbre
Because of this the organ is in an advanced state of decay.
The instrument is played regularly, at the very least during the six weekly office, in a highly frequented building and world-renowned tourist site emblematic of Paris and France. It is the most widely-heard pipe organ in the world after that of Notre Dame.
The tenured organists can attest to the number of French and foreign visitors and organists who marvel at the design and sound quality of this instrument, which is an inestimable part of France’s cultural heritage.
The tenured organists are Claudine Barthel, Philippe Brandeis and Gabriel Marghieri.
Today the grand organ is in urgent need of repair.
After many years of preparation, this project has commenced and large-scale work is underway without interruption of the liturgical services. We are counting on your generosity to complete the restoration!
Would you like to help us restore the grand organ of the Basilica?
There are several ways to contribute:
* Send a cheque drawn on a French bank made out to “ADP Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre”.
A tax receipt will be issued for all donations over 10 euros.
*Donate online at http://www.paris.catholique.fr/-Don-en-ligne-.html
*Leave a cash donation at the reception desk or in the dedicated collection box.
For more information or to send in your donation please contact us at:
Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre
35 rue du Chevalier de la Barre
Tél : +33 (0) 1 53 41 89 00
Here are some examples of the repair costs :
To replace one of the 244 bellows = €65
To replace one of the 20 Bombarde 32 bellows = €302
To clean the base = €2 155
Raising the grand organ = €14 830