Macron will re-inaugurate the Notre Dame organ

Macron will re-inaugurate the Notre Dame organ


norman lebrecht

August 04, 2020

The French president has announced one item in his itinerary several years in advance.

He intends to be present at the ceremonial reopening of the Notre Dame organ on 16 April 2024, five years almost to the day since the fire that gutted much of the cathedral but spared its great instrument.


  • John Borstlap says:

    It is reassuring that he also confirmed that the destroyed 19C spire will be rebuilt in its original form, and not be replaced by some idiotic modernist concoction.

  • Edward says:

    From the headline I thought he was giving the opening recital! Not sure how good Macron’s Vierne really is…

  • Professor of History says:

    Nothing wrong with this piece of news on the face of it, but when one knows how France is obsessed by the separation of Church and State, this all appears to be yet another manifestation of French hypocritical absurdity.
    France is a country where wearing or showing any sign of religion is forbidden inside any public space: in a school, in a government office, at a public beach, etc. Many certainly remember the annual kerfuffles that happen in France over their banning women from wearing the burkini at French beaches in summer, of Jews being forbidden to wear a kippah when entering a government office, a police station or at a state school or university and the supposed ban on Christians wearing a cross around their necks while at school or conducting business with the French administration.
    Yet, as the recent fires at both Notre-Dame in Paris and at the Nantes Cathedral have shown, the French Government immediately gets involved, pledging French taxpayer support to rebuild both cathedrals, restore their organs and offer a restored church back to the worshippers.
    On both occasions, the first people on the scene, making speeches, promising their help and expressing their sadness to the parishes concerned, are French Government Ministers, and the President himself. The very same people who support and lecture on the importance of the separation between Church and State and vote laws to have a woman wearing a burkini at the beach arrested and fined.
    Yes, I know that many twisted French minds reading this here will say that these churches are part of the French cultural patrimony and are seen as cultural edifices, much like a national museum or monument. Sorry, but that perverse logic may work in France, but it doesn’t make any sense and is an affront to other religions in what is supposed to be a secular state.
    If the ‘Grande Mosquée de Paris’ would have been damaged by fire, would the State offer taxpayer money to have it rebuilt? If the largest synagogue in Paris would be destroyed by fire, would the French State be at the scene making speeches and pledge taxpayer money to rebuild it?
    The hypocrisy here is overwhelming, for if France is an areligious State, then why does it consider only Christian edifices as part of its cultural patrimony and worthy of State support?

    • Andrew says:

      The French state owns all churches over 100 years old, including Notre Dame, and merely permits their use by religious communities. It is the job of the state, as owner, to maintain them.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        I think the comment was referring particularly to symbolism and not state finances. And the state does ‘own’ them, relieving the catholic church of the impossible task of maintenance. It’s great when people put their money where their mouths are!! This is what the French people are doing through their government.

      • V. Lind says:

        Not often I agree with you, Andrew, but when you are right you are right.

    • Allen says:

      If a “Grande Mosquée de Paris” had stood on the site since 1260, and suffered similar damage, I’m sure that the authorities in France would guarantee its restoration. To have survived that long, it would have been maintained, preserved, and valued.

      But it’s France, so the building happens to be a cathedral. Weird.

    • dgar Self says:

      Hard to credit that in pre-Revolutionary days, Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin were Louis XIV’s prime ministers,if my reading of Dumas is correct.

      Or that Montaigne managed to remain friends with Henry of Navarre and his opponents, quartering both armies, though at different times and separately. Or that Montaigne was, like his father, mayor of Bordeaux, twice in the son’s case, elected a second time in absentia while traveling in Italy.

      Kenneth Clark in “Civilisation” pointed to the Latin inscription from Horace on a beam in Montaigne’s hexagonal library: “I am a man. Nothing human is foreign to me.”

      It may even be octagonal? Someone here will tell us. I hope Horace is right.

  • Jack says:

    I will be curious to see what Olivier Latry will say about how the sound of the organ will have changed once the new roof is installed.

    He has said that even though the organ is undamaged, the sound will inevitably be different with a new roof.

    • Jack says:

      It’s a new roof/ceiling so you could be right, but didn’t I read a few weeks ago that the building was to be restored just as it was originally built, lead sheathing and all?

  • Mark Dyer says:

    I had no idea Macron is an organist. Surely it would be more appropriate to ask M Olivier Latry, the cathedral’s organist to inaugurate it?

  • Alexm says:

    Don’t worry. If it comes to a face-to-face contest between messieurs Latry and Macron, M Latry will win. Incontrovertibly!