AVIGNON –  Notre-Dame Cathedral


“Notre-Dame des Doms d’Avignon” is a Roman Catholic cathedral located next to the Palais des Papes in the French city of Avignon. It is the seat of the Archbishop.

The cathedral is a Romanesque building, built primarily in the second half of the 12th century. The bell tower collapsed in 1405 and was rebuilt in 1425. In 1670-1672 the apse was rebuilt and extended. The building was abandoned and allowed to deteriorate during the Revolution, but it was reconsecrated in 1822 and restored by archbishop Célestin Dupont in 1835-1842. The most prominent feature of the cathedral is a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary atop the bell tower which was erected in 1859. The bell tower, characterized by pilasters that develop to full height, at its base has a particular portico in Roman architecture style. It houses an important carillon of 35 bells, fifteen of which can play in expanse. The interior contains many works of art. The most famous of these is the mausoleum of Pope John XXII (died 1334), a 14th-century Gothic carving. It was moved in 1759, damaged during the Revolution, and restored to its original position in 1840.

The cathedral was listed as a Monument historique in 1840, and since 1995, UNESCO World Heritage.


Our Company was chosen for the restoration works of the organ built in the nineteenth century by the Italian organbuilder Piantanida. This valuable instrument, object to France’s genuine interest and admiration, is often familiarly identified by its appearance with the sole title of “Orgue Doré” without further specification. It is still up to this day considered a landmark of nineteenth century Italian organs. Highly distinctive element of this organ and object of astonishment is its beautiful and monumental gilded wooden case, its style inspired by the aesthetics of Italian style (the extreme linearity of the design, the classical straight crowning) rather than French (the prominent centre turret, supported by a shelf and topped by a large statue of King David musician). The stops are driven by wooden stoplevers with horizontal movement from right to left. latching in a notch at their end of travel. The stoplevers are placed in two columns on the right side of the keyboard. The Bellows are placed in an appropriate location at a lower height relative to the plane of the organ.

Four new wedge bellows, with 5 folds each, were reconstructed. A very special sophisticated machine was designed and built to replicate in automation the rising of the four bellows, in turn, in order to feed the organ without the use of an electric blower: this solution replicates the ancient and original way of playing the organ with manual operation of the four bellows. With this system the wind, and therefore the sound, remain very stable avoiding the turbulence produced by the blower.

The instrument is composed of a keyboard of 54 notes and pedal of 17 notes. The organ tuning was found to be 438 Hz to 18 ° while the temperament used for final tuning has 7 ‘narrow’ fifths and 5 ‘pure’ fifths. The wind pressure is 50 mm in water column.

Piantanida – Mentasti  XVIII/XIX sec.

“We performed a careful examination and we could detect a strong affinity in the structure of the instrument with the Italian Varese school, in particular  very near to Giovanbattista Biroldi (1712-1792).”

1 keyboard 54 keys – pedalboard 17 keys


Principale I bassi

Principale I soprani

Tromba soprani

Fagotto bassi

Violoncello bassi

Flautone soprani

Flauto traversiere soprani

Flagioletto bassi

Flauto in ottava

Cornetto I

Cornetto II

Bombarde ai pedali

Contrabassi e Ottave ai pedali

Principale II bassi

Principale II soprani






Trigesimaterza e trigesimasesta


Voce Umana


Timballi ai pedali

Flauto ai pedali

Accessories: (on the front, on the right of pedalboard)

  • Foot pedal for Gran cassa, piatti e rollante
  • Foot pedal for Terza mano (on the right side)
  • Foot pedal for Tiraripieno
  • Foot pedal for Tiratutti (combinazione libera)