VR Restores The Notre-Dame Cathedral To Its Historic Glory

The 45-minute interactive tour takes you back 850 years to explore the incredible architecture in its prime.

On April 15th, 2019, a massive fire that started under the roof of the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral caused extensive damage to the historic structure. By the time the last flames were extinguished there was almost nothing left of the roof and upper walls, with the spire having collapsed entirely. 

Eternal Notre-Dame, a new VR experience developed by Orange and Emissive in association with the Mayor of Paris and the Church, returns the extraordinary edifice back to its former glory through the use of immersive technology. 

Image Credit: Orange

In this interactive VR experience, audiences use HTC’s Vive Focus 3 VR headset to explore a historically-accurate recreation of Notre-Dame painstakingly crafted using high-res scans of the interior and older images as a reference. The visually-captivating simulation allows you to walk the halls of the historic structure, explore the roof, listen to stories from the original builders, watch glazers install an intricate stained glass window, and discover the cathedral’s many secrets.

The Eternal Notre-Dame experience also includes “Notre-Dame hors les murs” (history and art) and “Rebuilding Notre-Dame de Paris: the work of the century” (presentation of the different trades), two additional exhibitions featuring a model of the cathedral (provided by the Diocese of Paris), a detailed reproduction of its arrow (masterpiece produced by the Compagnons du Tour de France), and a 12-minute film evoking the restoration site (produced by the public establishment responsible for conservation and restoration).

Image Credit: Orange

Orange turned to Emissive to put together the 45-minute VR experience because of the incredible VR experiences they’ve built in the past. In the past, the company has worked on projects for major organizations such as Adidas, The Enemy, and Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass, which was the Louvre’s first-ever VR exhibition.

In an official press release, Fabien Barati, CEO of Emissive, said, “We are delighted to show the great potential of immersive expeditions to the general public. Our teams are proud to contribute, through their expertise, to the reconstruction, preservation, and enhancement of this unique monument, so rich in symbols that is Notre-Dame de Paris.”

In the same press release, Cher Wang, Co-founder and Chairwoman, HTC Corp, added, “Allowing people to experience in fantastic detail the awe-inspiring beauty and history of Notre-Dame cathedral is an outstanding example of how virtual reality can ensure that history lives on. Our compact, all in one VIVE Focus 3 headset enables people to absorb the atmosphere and admire the marvelous architecture and precious relics as if they were there.”

Image Credit: Orange

She added, “We’re particularly proud of this work by our content partner Emissive, which has led the world in creating extraordinary and unique VR-based cultural experiences.”

The Eternal Notre-Dame will open to the public in Paris starting on January 15, 2022, at the Espace Grande Arche in la Défense. In September 2022, the VR experience will move to the Parvis de Notre-Dame – the main square in front of the cathedral. Eternal Notre-Dame will then embark on a tour of France and Europe before making its way to the rest of the world.

Feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

Image Credit: Orange

Eternal Notre-Dame, an extraordinary immersive experience! Cutting-edge technologies allow this 45-minute sound and visual stroll through the 800-year history of Notre Dame. To discover urgently!” – Le Bonbon

“The rain falls on the pavement of this dark Parisian alley. In the background, the shadow of Notre Dame, majestic … From the first seconds, I am thrown back in the Middle Ages which invented Gothic art, for a journey in the bluffing time.” – Le Pèlerin

“I am impressed by the evocative power of this tool. I feel, I believe, the same feeling as the spectators who saw the first talkie film!” – Franck Ferrand from Radio Classique

Tickets for Eternal Notre-Dame start at € 20.99 (or roughly $20 US dollars) and can be purchased here starting on January 15th.

Feature Image Credit: Orange

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

Send this to a friend