the organ dismantled pipe by pipe, a titanic project

    the organ dismantled pipe by pipe, a titanic project

    RTL invites you this Thursday, December 10 in the heart of Notre-Dame cathedral. The scaffolding above the hole in the nave has been removed, the vaults are being consolidated and 8,000 organ pipes were finished being dismantled on Wednesday.

    To visit Notre-Dame, the security conditions are very strict, in particular because of the presence of lead. Compulsory half-hour training in the Esmeralda room of the site buildings. Disposable coveralls, disposable underwear… nothing is left to chance. It is only in this outfit that it is possible to enter the cathedral and admire the gaping hole left by the spire, which collapsed during the fire. Gigantic safety nets everywhere. Above, the sky of Paris.

    Christian Lutz, the master builder, takes us to the organ level. “You have to imagine that this organ is like a building that would have three floors of piping above, “he explains. If you go up to the top floor of the organ, you find yourself behind the rose window of Notre-Dame de Paris, which you can admire from the square.

    The organ dismantled two and a half months in advance

    Only one pipe was damaged by water. All the others were covered in dust, lead oxide, very toxic. A site directed by Mario d’Amico. “There is 8,000 pipes that have been dismantled very carefully, like sculptures from the Louvre. We filled four containers and a truck. It is the largest organ in France, “says the site manager.

    The organ was taken apart pipe by pipe. There were 8,000!
    Credit: © Patrick Zachmann / Magnum Photos

    But then when will the first notes sound? Response with General Georgelin, the president of the public establishment responsible for the restoration of the cathedral, which can be found at a height of 30 meters, under the vault of Notre-Dame. “Today, we are dismantling this organ two and a half months in advance. The pipes will go to the organ builders to be cleaned“.

    End of work scheduled for April 2024

    And in October 2023, the organ will be reassembled. “We will have six months left to harmonize the instrument, to verify that their timbre, their sound color, will be the same as before. We must verify that there is not one that sounds louder or less loud. asks a very trained ear. Which means that this work will be done entirely at night, in absolute silence. It is this 1% that makes all the difference between any organ and a masterpiece. ” The goal is for the organ to sound again in Notre-Dame de Paris in April 2024.

    the organ dismantled pipe by pipe, a titanic project

    The workers filled four containers and a construction truck with the 8,000 pipes.
    Credit: © Patrick Zachmann / Magnum Photos

    At the end of the visit, you have to collect your belongings, throw away the disposable coverall, clean the fleece, boots and helmet. Shower is compulsory. Hair included and nail brushing. You must remove all traces of lead before reaching the exit.

    Beyond the organ, dismantled two months in advance, where is the site? For the past few months, it has been advancing at high speed, but it is still in a security and diagnostic phase. In particular the vaults on either side of the transept. Outwardly they appear to be in good condition but it will take months to ascertain stone by stone.

    A single worker was affected by the coronavirus

    General Georgelin, who is piloting the site, remains optimistic. “Normally, we should be able to carry out the first actual restoration work from the summer of 2021. Our objective, and we will keep it, is to return the cathedral to worship on April 16, 2024.”

    A colossal construction site with around 200 masked workers and in overalls. Unlike last spring, during this second confinement they continued to inspect, clean, remove rubble and set up scaffolding. There was onlyonly one positive case for the coronavirus among the companions and about twenty contact cases. Teams therefore had to work at night. It is a race against time followed by thousands of donors around the world.

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