The Church

Saint-Germain-des-Prés is the oldest church in Paris, dating to the 6th century, when a Benedictine abbey was founded by Childebert, son of Clovis. During the Middle Ages, the abbey was very powerful. The Normans destroyed the abbey several times. Only the marble columns in the triforium remain from the original structure. The abbey was completely destroyed during the Revolution, but the church was spared and rebuilt in the 19th century; only one of the 3 original Romanesque belfries remained. The present building is a fine example of Romanesque architecture, in particular its tower and nave. The choir is Gothic. For a time, the abbey was a pantheon for Merovingian kings. Many of them were buried in the Chapelle de St-Symphorien, which was restored in 1981. The colorful 19th-century frescoes in the nave are by Hippolyte Flandrin, a pupil of the classical master Ingres. Romanesque paintings were discovered on the triumphal arch in the 1981 restorations. The present classicising portal was built in 1606. The choir provides an early example of flying buttresses.

The organ

This organ was built orginally for Saint-Victor by Thierry in 1679. It was renovated by the Clicquots in the second part of the 18th centuray. It was installed at Saint-Germain-des-Prés in 1805-10 by Somer. A complete reconstruction was done by Stoltz, turning the instrument into a romantic instrument. In 1922-27 the organ was again completely reconstructed by Gutschenritter. In 1970-1973 Haerpfer-Erman built a new instrument in a French neo-classical style, incorporating 10 old stops. The case of the GO dates to 1810, the positif to 1973. On its towers resides Saint-Victor and some angles. 10 stops date back to the 17th and 18th century (4 completely), 17 stops to Somer, 19 stops are new.
This organ is unique in Paris in the sense that it is built in a neo-classical style favouring not German, but French baroque music and also allows for a more symphonic approach by the large Récit expressif that is included. It sounds very well, also due to the beautiful acoustiscs of the church.

Main builder History Latest restauration
1973 - Haerpfer-Ermann 1679 - Thierry
1759/1772/1779 - Clicquot
1810 - Somer
1829 - Callinet
1864 - Stolz
1927 - Gutschenritter
1973 - Haerpfer-Ermann
2005 - Fossaert

IV/56 - Mechanical traction

Titulaires: Jean-Paul Serra, Anne-Marie Blondel
Famous organists in the past: Antoine Calvière, J.M. Beauvarlet-Charpentier, Augustin Barié, André Marchal.

Concerts: 4th sunday of the month, 15.30 h (not always)
Masses with organ: saturday 19.00 h, sunday 11.00 h.

AUDIO: Francois Espinasse Psaume huguenot (Isoir)

Specific links
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