The Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris Pipe Organ

The world watched in frozen horror as news broadcasts showed a fire blazing through the Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019. The fate of the historic building and its contents hung in the balance. The damage was extensive, yet somehow, miraculously even, some things survived. Among the remaining treasures in the cathedral is the pipe organ, known as the Grand Organ.

Johann Vexo, organist at Notre Dame, was at the console when the fire began. Here is his amazing recounting of the event.

There were actually two organs in the cathedral. The Choir (smaller) organ received significant water damage, but reports are water flowed down both sides of the Grand (main) Organ case rather than into it, sparing it from flooding.

[Related: A printable and expanded version of this lesson, complete with projects for review, is available here.]

Olivier Latry is the one of the organists at Notre Dame Cathedral Paris. He well-known as a concert artist, and is also a Professor of Organ in the Conservatoire de Paris. In this video, we see him at work at his art at the Grand Organ.

[Related: A pipe organ is one of the most complicated machines ever built but the pipes that make the sound are really quite simple. Here is a fun printable to show kids how those pipes work.]

[Related: Did you know the pipe organ is one of our very oldest instruments? A unit study for older kids is available here.]

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The printable for this mini-course may be used for one classroom, one private studio or one homeschool classroom. It may not be shared. Additional licenses for multiple classrooms , including homeschool co-ops, are available here.


  1. This organ is essentially irreplaceable and I was so relieved when I found out it survived. Hard to believe after the way that roof burned.

  2. Debbie Phillips says:

    Great news!

  3. Michael Gemmell says:

    I was so glad to read your report about Notre-Dame, but what about the organ at Saint-Sulpice, which had a fire previously? I believe I’ve told you I attended a late Sunday morning organ recital there in March 2009. I was invited to climb up to watch the organist, but my friend wasn’t able to navigate the stairs.

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