Budget Europe 2008

by Ralph Martin


Flying buttresses, soaring ceilings, heavenly acoustics—a concert at Paris's Notre-Dame cathedral (pictured) is certainly heavy on the ambience. (They've been putting them on since the 11th century, after all.) And they're unbelievably cheap: Notre-Dame charges $23 to see world-class orchestras and ensembles, often less on the day of the concert. In fact, Europe's major cathedrals all have regular music programs to match their inspirational architecture. Just across the Seine is St. Sulpice in the Latin Quarter, another major player, while London's St. Martin-in-the-Fields has a decades-long tradition of free lunchtime concerts (and a world-renowned orchestra). Those massive organ pipes get regular workouts at Berlin's Dom and London's Westminster Abbey, as well as at Dresden's rebuilt Frauenkirche. In Paris, St. Eustache's 8,000-pipe organ is not to be missed. For schedules, look up individual church Web sites (usually available only in the local language) or keep your eyes open for posters in the vicinity. There are often last-minute tickets available, so serendipity may be your best bet.

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