Hear Classical, Baroque, & Sacred Music in Historic Churches in Paris
Concerts performed in Paris churches, chapels, and (prior to the fire) Notre Dame Cathedral let you experience superb music in sublime settings with ideal acoustics designed long before the days of electronic amplification.
The thrill of hearing musical instruments and voices in these centuries-old spaces make you realize that even the most sophisticated and expensive sound systems are poor substitutes for the magic of hearing live performances.
Concerts typically feature baroque and classical music by composers such as Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and Beethovan as well as Gregorian chants, choral pieces, Christmas songs, and even modern composers.
You'll find unique beauty, art, history, and amazing music in each church: spectacular stained glass at Sainte-Chapelle, magnificent pipe organs at Notre Dame and Église de la Madeleine, candlelight concerts at Saint-Ephrem, soaring architecture at Saint Eustache, great art at Saint Roch Church, and echoes of 6th century Rome at Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Tickets sell out quickly as these classical concerts are perhaps even more popular with local Parisians than with visitors. If possible, get your tickets a month or two in advance, and even earlier for special holiday concerts at Christmas, New Year, and Easter.
Looking for Paris church concert schedules and tickets for a particular month? See our Paris Concerts page.
Here are 12 Paris churches where you'll find memorable classical music concerts:
La Sainte-Chapelle Concerts
Stunningly gorgeous stained glass windows and soaring French Gothic architecture make any concert in Sainte-Chapelle an experience you'll always remember.
Fortunately, Sainte-Chapelle also offers more concerts than any other Paris church (although Église Saint-Ephrem is a close second).
Over 100 classical musical performances by soloists and ensembles take place here each year, including (usually) concerts on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
Because Sainte-Chapelle is an extremely popular concert venue with only 200 seats, book as far in advance as possible, especially for holiday concerts.
Location: 8, boulevard du Palais on the Ile de la Cité, 1st arrondissement; concerts are held in the chapel on the 2nd floor Seating Capacity: 200 Nearest Metro: Cité Schedules and Tickets:Find all Sainte-Chapelle concerts
Recommended nearby Hotels:
Hotel Britannique - Romantic small hotel on the Right Bank across from Île de la Cité and Sainte Chapelle Find lowest rates
Relais Hôtel du Vieux Paris - Charming 4-star boutique hotel in a historic 15th century building in the Latin Quarter - just a quick walk across the Pont Saint-Michel bridge to Sainte Chapelle Find lowest rates
Hôtel Europe Saint Séverin Paris - Small Latin Quarter hotel close to Sainte Chapelle, Notre Dame, and the Pantheon; request a room with a balcony! Find lowest rates
Although the Église de la Madeleine's Neoclassical Greek design and 52 Corinthian columns on the outside make it a Paris landmark, its magnificent Cavaillé-Coll pipe organ and superb acoustics make it a popular venue for classical music concerts. You'll typically hear works by Mozart, Vivaldi, and Bach.
Past organists include famous French composers Camile Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré.
Église de la Madeleine's spectacular neo-Byzantine mosaics, art, and sculpture make attending a concert here an unforgettable experience.
Orginally built as a temple to honor Napoleon's army, La Madeleine contains beautiful religious statues and paintings. In a dome over the altar, a striking fresco called "The History of Christianity" depicts Napolean at its center.
Location: Place de la Madeleine, 8th arrondissement Seating Capacity: 200 Nearest Metro: Madeleine Schedules and Tickets:Find all La Madeleine Concerts Recommended nearby Hotels:
Hotel Fauchon - Luxury boutique hotel with fashion, style, and food by famous gourmet French food purveyor, Fauchon, just steps away from Eglise de la Madeleine - Find lowest rates
Hotel de Seze - Elegant 4-star design hotel in a superb location - new and modern with great soundproofing - Compare all rates
Hotel Opera Richepanse - Boutique hotel in the heart of Paris, close to Madeleine Church, Paris Opera, and Place Vendome - Compare all rates
Superb acoustics make the Church of Saint Ephrem an ideal setting for frequent concerts featuring Chopin, Bach, Satie, Debussy, Beethovan, and other classical music favorites performed by musicians from the National Conservatory of Music in Paris.
Located in the heart of the Latin Quarter on a quiet street behind the Pantheon, the 1733 Corinthian-style building occupies the site of two earlier chapels dating back to 1334.
Since 1925, Saint Ephrem's (named after 4th century theologian-musician Saint Ephrem of Syria) has been a Syrian Catholic Church and conducts Sunday services in Syrian Aramaic.
A beautiful rood screen carved in wood, one of the very few in Paris to escape destruction during the Revolution, forms an ornate backdrop for the musicians. Beautiful Byzantine-style icons hang on several walls.
Look for occasional candlelight concerts on the schedule.
Location: 17, rue des Carmes, 5th arrondissement Seating Capacity: 400 Nearest Metro: Maubert Mutualité Schedules and Tickets:Find all Saint Ephrem Concerts
Recommended nearby Hotels:
Select Hotel - Great Left Bank location near Saint Ephrem and the Sorbonne -
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Hotel Saint Jacques - Small romantic Belle Epoque hotel near Saint Ephrem Church and the Pantheon; affordable rates - Compare all rates
Hotel La Lanterne - Excellent small hotel in the Latin Quarter with modern decor and a wonderful spa and pool - Compare all rates
Église Saint-Eustache (Saint Eustache Church)
Dating back to 1532-1640, Saint Eustache is undoubtedly one of the most magnificent Paris churches, with breath-taking architecture and a centuries-long history of hosting amazing concerts, partly due to its splendid organ.
Tickets for its renowned New Year's Eve and New Year's Day concerts sell out fast, so book early if you want to attend on these dates.
Hotel Le Relais des Halles - Chic and affordable hotel near Les Halles and Saint-Eustache Church - Compare all rates
Maison Albar Hotel - 5-star hotel with spa, indoor pool, and plenty of luxury near Saint Eustache, Rue des Lombards jazz clubs, Les Halles, Palais Royal - Compare all rates
The Hoxton - Luxurious 4-star hotel close to Saint Eustache, Les Halles, Centre Pompidou, and the Louvre - Compare all rates
Église Saint-Sulpice Concerts
Saint-Sulpice, built in the 17th and 18th century over foundations from a Romanesque church dating back to the 1200s, is almost as large as Notre-Dame.
The Late-Baroque style church is filled with magnificent treasures including a renowned organ regarded as the best in Paris and possibly the world. Master organ-builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll rebuilt the 1791 organ with 100 stops and five keyboards to produce an unbelievably majestic sound, amplified perfectly by Saint-Sulpice's excellent acoustics.
Fans of The Da Vinci Code will remember the organ as the site of a violent (but of course fictional) attack.
You can hear the organ on Sundays before, during, and after some of the masses, as well as on one Sunday afternoon each month at 4pm. Check dates and times on the Église Saint-Sulpice website.
Classical concerts are also held fairly frequently at Saint-Sulpice, including (usually) on New Year's Eve, and typically include choral music by composers such as Brahms, Beethovan, Ravel, and Fauré.
La Perle - Charming and affordable 3-star hotel in a quiet location near Saint Sulpice -
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Hotel Clément - Affordable lovely small 2-star hotel in fashionable Saint Germain des Prés close to Saint Sulpice - Compare all rates
What Is a Cavaillé-Coll Organ?
pipe organs, designed and built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in the mid-to-late 1800s and considered the finest examples of this instrument produced in the 19th century. They are "symphonic" organs, capable of reproducing and blending the sounds of other orchestral instruments to make you feel you're hearing an entire symphony orchestra. Numerous Cavaillé-Coll organs still exist in Paris churches and other venues, although many of them have been rebuilt at least once.
To hear the least-altered Cavaillé-Coll organ in Paris, head to Église Saint-Sulpice.
Other Paris churches where you can hear Cavaillé-Coll organs include the American Cathedral, Église Saint-Roch, Église de la Madeleine (rebuilt, modified), Notre Dame de la Croix, Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris (modified), Pentemont Abby, Saint Antoine des Quinze Vingts, Saint Clotilde Basillica (modified, rebuilt), Saint Vincent de Paul, Saint-Trinité, Église Saint-Jean de Montmartre, Sacré Coeur Basilica, and the Val de Grâce chapel organ.
Built in Italian style in the early 1700s, the Church of Saint Paul - Saint Louis endured bloodshed, violence, and a brief conversion to "The Cult of Reason and the Supreme Being" during the French Revolution before being restored to Catholicism in the early 1800s.
In addition to enjoying the church's gorgeous interior and a famous organ, you can also seem some wonderful art treasures here, including paintings by Delacroix and Germain Pilon.
Classical concerts in this spectacular setting often feature works by Vivaldi and Pachelbel - truly a memorable experience!
Hotel Caron -Highly rated boutique hotel with only 8 rooms - a little gem in an excellent location in the Marais near the Church of Saint Paul-Saint Louis - Compare all rates
Hotel de Joséphine Bonaparte - Charmingly chic boutique hotel with rooms organized around what the hotel calls "eccentric love nests" decor; great location - Compare all rates
Église Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois
Although the Church of Saint Germain l'Auxerrois was founded in the 7th century, it has been rebuilt many times. It is one of the very few Roman Catholic churches in Paris to still celebrate a daily traditional Latin Mass.
Most of the church's structure dates back to the 15th century, with older portions from the 13th century. Look closely when you are here for a concert and you can spot Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. A large west-facing rose window is spectacular during late afternoon.
Hotel Relais du Louvre - Highly rated boutique 3-star hotel with 21 charming rooms in a superb location overlooking the Saint-Germain l'Auxerroix Church and the Louvre Museum near the Seine River - Find lowest rates and book on TripAdvisor
Hotel de la Place du Louvre - Popular 3-star boutique hotel in a 17th century building in a superb location (next door to Hotel Relais du Louvre above) - look for bargain rates on the smallest rooms, or spend a bit more to get additional space - Find lowest rates and book
Hotel Saint Germain des Prés - Lovely 3-star hotel in an 18th century townhouse with many original period details and architectural features - great location near Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés - Compare all rates
Hotel Signature Saint Germain des Prés - Beautiful modern decor, affordable rates, and excellent service in this 26-room boutique 3-star hotel close to the church - Compare all rates
Across Rue de Rivoli from the Louvre, Église de l'Oratoire du Louvre (Church of the Oratory of the Louvre) mixes baroque and classical elements reflecting the architectural styles in fashion when its construction began in the 1700s and when it completed in the 1800s.
Inside, the soaring height of the vaulted ceiling provides wonderful acoustics for concerts, which focus on sacred choral music from Renaissance, Classical, and Baroque periods.
Hotel Konfidentiel Paris - Highly regarded 4-star boutique hotel with charming decor and personalized service in a wonderful 1st arrondissement location near Eglise de l'Oratoire du Louvre, the Louvre Museum, and Palais Royal - Compare all rates
Best Western Premier Louvre Saint Honoré - Trés chic but surprisingly affordable 4-star hotel in a fabulous 1st arrondissement location - Compare all rates
Hôtel Herni IV - Located next to Saint Séverin (some rooms overlook it), this luxurious 3-star boutique hotel in a 17th century townhouse is also only about a 3-minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral. Reviews & Rates
The Church of Saint Julien le Pauvre ("the poor"), located in the 5th Arrondissement's Latin Quarter across the Seine River from Notre Dame, is one of the oldest churches in Paris. Built in the late 12th/early 13th centuries, its plain exterior was rebuilt in 1651 but once you're inside, you'll see a mix of traditional Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles. Although Saint Julien le Pauvre began as a Roman Catholic church, it was reconsecrated in 1889 as a Melkite Greek Catholic of Antioch church.
Be sure to note the elaborate carved capitals at the top of the columns; they date back to when the church was built and feature leaves and harpies, the half-human, half-bird creatures believed in Greek and Roman mythology to personify storm winds. Behind the altar, you'll see a wall of icons.
The small, intimate size of this lovely old church makes it a perfect place to attend classical concerts.
Location: 1, rue Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre (next to Square René Viviani and the Shakespeare & Company bookstore) in the 5th arrondissement Schedules and Tickets:Find all Saint Julien le Pauvre concerts Seating Capacity: 100 Nearest Metro: Saint Michel Notre Dame, Maubert-Mutualité Recommended nearby Hotels:
Hotel Esmeralda- Highly rated very affordable 2-star boutique hotel with 19 rooms, all with private baths, in a 17th century building in a fantastic location close to Saint Julien le Pauvre Church - Find best rates
Although most people tend to sit as close to the front as possible (perhaps in order to see the musicians?), the sweetest spot for experiencing the superb acoustics of most of these churches is about midway back where the amplified sound of each of the notes blending together is an unforgettable experience. Sitting in the back is fine too, as the acoustics in these mostly-medieval churches were designed to awaken even the sleepiest parishioner hoping to nap in a back pew.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (Notre Dame Cathedral) Concerts
Please note: concerts are not scheduled until further notice due to reconstruction after the fire.
With soaring spires, medieval towers, and flying buttresses, Notre Dame Cathedral dominates Île de la Cité at the city's historic center, and is the most famous church in Paris. Don't miss the famous stained glass "rose" windows while you're there.
Notre Dame's vast pipe organ along with the sheer beauty of the cathedral makes attending a concert here a memorable experience.
Although many concerts here feature organ and sacred music, you'll find a variety of music ranging from Gregorian chants to baroque, plus wonderful Christmas concerts.
Location: Parvis Notre-Dame, Place Jean-Paul II, Ile de la Cité, 4th arrondissement Seating Capacity: 600 for concerts Nearest Metro: Cité or Saint Michel Schedules and Tickets:Concerts not scheduled until further notice Recommended nearby Hotels:
Melia Paris Notre Dame - Elegant 4-star boutique hotel in a totally renovated 16th century building in the Latin Quarter - request a room with a view of Notre Dame! Find lowest rates at TripAdvisor
Hôtel de Lutèce - This charming boutique hotel in a 17th century mansion features beautiful decor in a prime Île Saint Louis location just steps from Notre Dame Find lowest rates