Paris Attractions: Museums, Art Galleries, and Monuments

Source: Louvre, Paris, France

In the summer of 2017, I also visited Paris to visit some of the iconic museums, art galleries, and monuments with an eye to explore what interactivity were available to  visitors in addition to the traditional display plaques and handouts.

An ambitious plan was to visit two to three sites per day since the usual hours of operation of Paris attractions were from 10 am to 5 pm with different days of the week set aside for closure. The plan was to check out the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre Museum, Musée d’Orsay, Petit Palais, Jardin des Tuileries, Sacré-Coeur, the 360° view from Montparnasse Tower (also known as the ugliest building in Paris), Les Invalides, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, and Musée National Rodin.

The Louvre is one of  the world’s largest museum is also its most visited. It is a city within the city, a vast, multi-level maze of galleries, passageways, staircases and escalators. It is famous for the artistic glories it contains within, but the very fabric of the museum is a masterpiece in itself — or rather, a collection of masterpieces modified and added to from one century to another. And because nothing in Paris ever stands still, the additions and modifications continue into the present day, with the opening of a major new Islamic Arts department in 2012. The Louvre is central landmark of the city and is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in Paris’ 1st arrondissement. If any place demonstrates the central importance of culture in French life, this is it. One of the more eye catching architectural focal points of the museum is the glass pyramid designed by architect I. M. Pei. The Louvre Pyramid was completed in 1989. The second phase of the Grand Louvre plan, La Pyramide Inversée (The Inverted Pyramid), was completed in 1993. Besides the artwork in the Louvre and the iconic architecture, the museum uses an interactive audio guide on a Nintendo 3DS ™ XL. The Louvre’s audio guide offers over 35 hours of audio content plus an interactive map on the dual screen of the DS. In lively and informal on-the-spot interviews, the museum’s curators and lecturers share their expert knowledge of the Louvre and its artworks. In addition to the audio commentaries, there are 3D photos of the galleries, high-definition images of the artworks, and 3D reconstructions to help visitors identify the exhibits and provide extra information.

Source: Les Invalides, Paris, France

Les Invalides is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building’s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l’Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the Dôme des Invalides, a large church with the tombs of some of France’s war heroes, most notably Napoleon Bonaparte. The Musée de l’Armée which is part of the Hôtel national des Invalides (Les Invalides) has created the Dôme Interactive digital guide for the iPad. Through the Dôme Interactive visitors can discover all the secrets of the Dôme Church:  by entering a new dimension with a tour in augmented reality; descriptions and explanations to better understand this iconic landmark as it was four hundred years ago; an interactive map to help visitors find their way; and, a quiz to challenge visitors’ knowledge following their visit. This is in addition to the multi-lingual multimedia guide available in: French, English, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Mandarin, and Japanese.

These are two of the popular Paris attractions that are using technology to increase interactivity with visitors at the museum.

Works Cited:

Louvre Museum. Accessed April 6, 2018. https://www.louvre.fr/en

Musée de l’Armée — Invalides. Accessed April 6, 2018. http://www.musee-armee.fr/en/english-version.html

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