Notre-Dame de Rouen CathedralNotre-Dame de Rouen Cathedral
©Notre-Dame de Rouen Cathedral|

The carillon of Rouen

The carillon of Rouen Cathedral, a surprising musical instrument composed of about sixty bells, played from a Flemish-style keyboard completed by a pedalboard. The soft notes of the carillon will give rhythm to your day if you pass by the city center… Tune in and look up to admire this architectural jewel!

Once upon a time...

In 1913 it was decided to make a bourdon, a 10-ton bell with the lowest sound, in honor of Joan of Arc. In addition, a carillon of 29 bells is also created. In 1920, this ensemble is installed in the Tour de Beurre, one of the two majestic towers on the façade of the Cathedral of Rouen.

A carillon of 64 bells

An imposing instrument

In 1954, under the impetus of the titular carillonneur Maurice Lenfant, the carillon was enlarged for the first time. A few years later, in 1959, five new flight bells, all connected to the keyboard, were installed.Only the bell named Joan of Arc remains isolated in the Tour Saint-Romain. This tower consisting of 129 steps is the oldest tower of the Gothic construction.

In 2015, the bells go back to the foundry Paccard in Annecy for a refurbishment. The opportunity also to cast sixteen new bells.

Today, the carillon of the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Rouen has a total of 64 bells, as many bells as notes. This large number of bells allows it to be the second largest carillon in France behind that of Chambéry.

Chimes at the Cathedral

A heritage and musical visit

Intriggered by the Cathedral carillon?

Tours in small groups are organized to observe closely the prodigious mechanics of the instrument. We discover the keyboard composed of keys that the carillonneur presses with his fists to operate the bells. The latter are of four generations (1914, 1954, 1959, 2016) and weigh between 58kg and 9 tons, which makes a total of 40 tons!

Each bell has a baptismal name as the Christian tradition in the West. The lowest bell is called Jeanne d’Arc, another Germaine, named after the wife of President Coty, its godfather. If you want to experience a unique moment that combines heritage discovery and musical discovery, do not hesitate to book your visit!

Note that the instrument that has a study keyboard is a training place for future instrumentalists. The carillon thus ensures beautiful musical decades to the city and its surroundings since it can be heard ringing 5 km around!”

The carillon concerts

A Hebrew building discovered in 1976

The carillon is an instrument that is an integral part of the city’s civil and religious life. Throughout the year, you can hear the carillon at auditions, atconcertsfrom local and foreign musicians or enjoy its melodies at festivities.

Auditions, especially those on Saturdays, are given by the carillonneurs of the Association du Carillon de la Cathédrale de Rouen (ACCR) or by invited carillonneurs. Regular auditions are offered on Saturday mornings from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., excluding school vacations (and excluding the Saturday before Easter).

If you would like to find all of the upcoming events at the Rouen carillon, visit the association l’ACCR.