The Church

This big and very majestically positioned church was built in during the reign of Napoleon III, by the architect Louis-Antoine Heret, in a neo-roman style with gothic elements and a modern metallic structure. It is built on the steep slope of the Hill of Ménilmontant, which necessitated the construction of a 54 steps to make up for the difference in level between the facade and the apse. It is the third Church in Paris by its length and has a very large surface of slate roofs. They are supported by wooden frames, but the attic of the Church also have metal beams supplementing cast-iron ribs visible under the vaults of the nave. It was the first church in Paris to have a visible metal structure.


The organ

The organ of Notre-Dame-de-la-Croix is one of the rare organs built by Cavaillé-Coll, which have not been altered to a significant extent during the past centuries. The organ was built in 1872-1874.
When designing the instrument, Cavaillé-Coll faced two serious problems: the rose window, and a bell passageway in the center of the gallery. It was used for the mechanical operation of the bells and as a route to bring down the bells for repairs. From the floor to the steeple, there are nine crosses in the rose window, a symbolic number, and none of them had to be concealed. So Cavaillé-Coll built an organcase in two sections leaving the center of the gallery and the rose window unmasked. The passageway for the bells prevented building a console in the center of the gallery with a direct action towards both organcases.
The original plan included a Récit expressiv, a Grand-Orgue, a Positif expressiv and a Pedal. The console was installed, facing the nave, with its three manuals. After the installation of the Récit and Grand-Orgue, it became evident that it would be impossible to build the action for the Positif. So the first manual, that was to be the Positif, was transformed into a permanent coupling manual, meaning that it couples the Récit with the Grand-Orgue. To take into account the passageway for the bells, Cavaillé-Coll was forced to turn the console (facing the rose window) and to use a complex action design, which resulted in an action which is very hard for the organist (although a Barkermachine is assisting the action of the GO).
The right organcase houses pipework from the Grand-Orgue division. The action, part of the wind system and the Barker machine are located in the lower part of the organcase. The left organcase houses pipework from the Recit. Just next to it, there is a large empty space, meant for the 11 stops of the never built Positif and now occupied by a electric motor. The Pedal division is located on each side in the back of the gallery with in the middle the main bellows.
In 1912, Charles Mutin renovated the organ and raised the wind pressure. Some works were done in 1922 by Fernand Prince. In 1955, Erwin Müller modified two stops: the 4' Octave in the Grand-Orgue became a 2 2/3' Quinte; the harmonic progression of the Plein Jeu III-VI in the Grand-Orgue was modified to become a Plein-Jeu III-IV with breaks (C = 1 1/3, c = 2, c' = 2 2/3', c'' = 4). In 1989, the organ was restored by Daniel Birouste (Plaisance).
Although this organ has only 26 stops, the instrument has an amazing power and it can OKbe described as one of the finest Cavaillé-Colls in Paris.

(main source:

Main builder History Latest restauration
1872 - Aristide Cavaillé-Coll 1912 - Charles Mutin
1922 - Fernand Prince
1955 - Erwin Müller
1990 - Daniel Birouste
1998/2000 François Delangue
2009 - Hubert Brayé

II/26 - Mechanical traction (Barker GO)

: Frédéric Denis
Famous organists in the past: Gaston Litaize (1930-1932), Jean Langlais (1932-1934)

Concerts: irregularly
Masses with organ: saturday 18.00, sunday 11.00, 18.00 h

Specific links: site of the organ

Grand choeur dialogué - Eugène Gigout

Carillon de Westminster - Louis Vierne


François-Henri Houbart: Partita

Frédéric Denis: Improvisation (1)

Frédéric Denis: Improvisation (2)

Frédéric Denis: VIERNE - Toccata