Many of France’s cultural sites are famous the world over for their architecture, history or unique collections. But many seemingly familiar places are revealing a secret side too, thanks to new technology such as 3D films and augmented reality, smartphone and tablet apps that enable visitors to ‘see’ vanished sections of properties and the splendour of original decoration. So step back in time and have fun on a unique virtual visit to these eye-catching cultural sites.
Les Luminessences d’Avignon
From 12 August to 1 October 2016, the Courtyard of Honour at the Palace of the Popes in Avignon will again be the backdrop to a monumental 360° video, Les Luminessences d’Avignon. This updated version will trace the multi-secular life of the Palace and its tumultuous history. Using the latest sound and light technology, Les Luminessences d’Avignon plunges the audience into a visual and narrative show that barely pauses for breath. Huge images cover the four facades of the courtyard, immersing the public in a poetic mix of architecture, light and music, with shows in both French and English.
Serve the king in Amboise
Experience life at the court of King François 1 with a new adventure guaranteed to bring your visit to the Royal Chateau of Amboise zinging vividly to life. The year is 1518 and François I has just
returned from Italy but needs to stamp his royal mark on his kingdom. Play the new interactive game, In the Service of the King, on iPad Mini for a supplement of just 5€ and get involved in both combat and diplomacy to reveal plots and triumph over conspiracies. Sub-titles are available in English.
Surround yourself with living history at Besançon’s Citadel
Travel back through time and space with this multimedia show to experience landmark moments in the history of Besançon and its Citadel. The walls, choir and vault of Saint Etienne Chapel have been turned into huge screens to provide a totally immersive experience for visitors. Giant images create life-size scenes that will plunge you into the heart of the battle. Surrounded by attackers and defenders, you’ll have a unique view of the action, both inside and out. The show lasts around fifteen minutes and is a great introduction to understanding the fortress and its history.
Take a 16th century tour of Chambord
Commissioned by François I as a palace for entertaining and hunting, the Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley is one of the first French monuments to offer a HistoPad tour. Travel back to the Renaissance with this interactive, instructive and fun tour which, through augmented reality and 3D reconstruction, enables visitors to explore the chateau as it was in the 16th Century. Experience a 360° tour of eight emblematic rooms to admire period furniture, objects and fabrics that are long gone, and enjoy multimedia presentations in 19 other key rooms. Available in 12 languages including English, the HistoPad includes a fun treasure hunt for younger visitors, and costs just 8€ to hire.
19th century decorative arts come to life in Monpellier’s Musée Fabre
A smartphone app with new texts and an audio-guide function in both French and English, will guide art lovers through the 19th Century Decorative Arts collection at Musée Fabre in Montpellier. iPods are free to borrow at the entrance to the Hôtel de Cabrières-Sabatier d’Espeyran, where the fabulous furniture and furnishings belonging to the museum are displayed in a typical bourgeois town house from the late-19th century. A new way of enjoying this unique collection in atmospheric surroundings.
Take a fresh look at the Pont du Gard
The Roman aqueduct of the Pont du Gard is one of France’s most iconic monuments, awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO. But now you can enjoy a different perspective with the new
visioguide – an original concept that presents the monument with a combination of 3D animation, reconstructions, photos and video. An audio commentary available in eight languages gives further explanation at various key points, covering the construction of the aqueduct, the landscape and its importance, both past and present.
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