• Press release

Notre-Dame Whispers: a unique audio-immersive experience of the sound and musical history of Notre-Dame de Paris

"Notre-Dame Whispers" is an audio-immersive stroll around the famous cathedral, available starting May 6, 2024 using the EKKO of Notre-Dame de Paris app., free of charge on your smartphones. Coordinated by researcher Brian FG Katz, research director in acoustics at the Institut Jean Le Rond d'Alembert (Sorbonne University/CNRS) and developed by cultural mediation agency Talkartive, this experience promises a stroll through the sonic and musical history of this icon of Gothic architecture. To present the project, the research team will be present on the forecourt of Notre-Dame de Paris from 6 to 12 of May.

Supported by the PHE research projects (the Past Has Ears) and PHEND (the Past Has Ears at Notre-Dame coordinated by Brian FG Katz), "Notre-Dame Whispers" is designed to raise public awareness of the often overlooked acoustic heritage of historic monuments. This project follows a series of studies to document and virtually reconstruct the unique acoustics of Notre-Dame de Paris. This research project had already showcased this historic monument in 2023 in a podcast miniseries, the radio drama "À la recherche de Notre-Dame" (Looking for Notre Dame). By combining auditory immersion and a stroll around this emblematic architectural monument of French heritage, "Notre-Dame Whispers" continues to promote this interdisciplinary academic research and offers new emotions to the public.

At the heart of "Notre-Dame Whispers" is a mobile application, a bridge between past and present, between the real and virtual worlds. The app presents a three-stage experience: it takes you on a stroll around the cathedral, transports you into "hyper-realistic" narratives thanks to immersive listening in binaural sound, and leads you on a quest to piece together the Rose des Souvenirs of Notre-Dame de Paris. The application also enables further exploration with an image gallery, scientific articles and videos, and a glossary of technical terms.

The Notre-Dame Whispers experience will be available free of charge in French, English and Spanish on Google Play and Apple Store, under the name "Ekko of Notre-Dame de Paris", offering the public a unique sonic immersion in the cathedral's acoustic memory.

This audio-immersive stroll would not have been possible without the collaboration of key partners: Sorbonne University, the Ministry of Culture, Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, the CNRS, the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris, Institut Jean le Rond d'Alembert (Sorbonne University/CNRS), MSH Lyon Saint-Étienne, Centre André Chastel (Sorbonne University/CNRS/Ministry of Culture), Collegium Musicæ (Sorbonne University), Observatoire des Patrimoines (OPUS, Sorbonne University), Chantier Scientifique Notre-Dame (CNRS/Ministère de la Culture), EU JPI Cultural Heritage project PHE, ANR project PHEND, IReMus research center (Sorbonne University/CNRS/Bibliothèque nationale de France/Ministère de la Culture), Sunmetron,
and DIM Pamir.