VIDEO: New virtual reality exhibition of Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral

Paris' Notre-Dame cathedral remains largely closed after the devastating fire that ripped through it in 2019, but now a new exhibition uses VR technology to allow people to discover the cathedral's history - from the 12th century to the present.

Notre-Dame cathedral is still undergoing renovation work.
Notre-Dame cathedral is still undergoing renovation work. But a new virtual reality exhibition will allow visitors to experience it in an entirely new way. (Credit: Orange Emissive)

The exhibition – opening on Saturday, January 15th – will allow people to engage with the site in an entirely new way: through virtual reality. 

For €30 visitors to the Espace Grande Arche de la Défense just outside of Paris can enter the exhibition space, put on a VR headset and experience some 800 years of history – from the 12th Century to the present day. This journey through time takes around 40-45 minutes. English-language narration is also provided. 

A new virtual reality exhibition tells the story of Notre Dame cathedral through key historical characters and events.

A new virtual reality exhibition tells the story of Notre Dame cathedral through key historical characters and events. (Credit: Orange/Emissive)

“Visitors will explore a digitally recreated Notre-Dame and live through a truly emotional journey through the secrets of the monument, all the while rediscovering the events and historical characters that marked its history,” according to the City of Paris

The trailer released by Amaclio Productions, one of the groups behind the virtual reality exhibition, is mind-blowing. 

Speaking to Le Parisien, the renowned French historian, Frank Ferrand, said the exhibition amounted to “a machine to travel back in time”. 

Five historians were consulted in the making of the project, which cost some  €4-5 million.

Around 30 percent of the income from ticket sales will go towards France’s public works budget, to help with the restoration of the cathedral. The organisers hope to attract 150,000 visitors this year.

The cathedral itself remains closed to almost all visitors while restoration works continue after the fire. It is hoped that the works will be finished by 2024. In the meantime, display boards outside the site show how the complicated restoration work is progressing.

Visitors experience the history of Notre Dame from the 12th century to the present day.

Visitors experience the history of Notre Dame from the 12th century to the present day. (Credit: Orange/Emissive)

There is also a free display at the site, where visitors can watch a 15-minute film about the renovation works and view a selection of photography. Various artefacts from the cathedral itself will also be on display. 

The exhibition will move to the Conciergerie, on Paris’ Ile de la Cité in the spring. In the Autumn, it will be moved again to the space underneath the large forecourt of the cathedral itself. 

There is a reduced ticket price of €20 per person for people under 18, students, unemployed people, those on RSA benefits, and people booking for a group of five or more people. 

You can buy tickets here or directly at the site. The group discount only applies to people who buy online. 

The exact address is: Espace Grande Arche de la Défense, 1 Parvis de la Défense, 92400 Puteaux.

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French doctors advise ‘be more Spanish’ as heatwaves continue

With a fourth summer heatwave on the horizon for France, French doctors are advising their compatriots to copy Spanish habits to deal with the high temperatures.

French doctors advise 'be more Spanish' as heatwaves continue

France has had a dangerously hot summer – one that emergency doctor, Patrick Pelloux, estimates will lead to “5,000 to 10,000 excess deaths” by the end of the season.

French weather forecaster Météo France has repeatedly sounded the alert for dangerously high temperatures via its heat alert system – as of Wednesday, 18 départements are on ‘orange’ alert for high temperatures.

As a result, several emergency medicine doctors have announced new recommendations to help the French adapt and stay safe in the warmer temperatures.

Interestingly enough, it might involve mimicking the behaviours of France’s neighbours to the south – known for their heat adapted lifestyles (e.g. the afternoon siesta).

French daily Le Parisien, has even published a map comparing temperatures in French cities to those in Spain:

Here’s how these doctors recommend the French become more Spanish:

Alter the daily routine – Spain is famous for its afternoon siestas and late evening meals. In France the classic apéro or ‘happy hour’ usually begins at about 5 or 6pm with dinner at 7pm or 8pm, but during the heatwave many bar owners are reporting that terraces are empty at 5pm, and only fill up from 9pm when the temperatures start to fall.

Pelloux recommended to Le Parisien that the French may need to begin adjusting their working hours to avoid the hottest part of the day, but continue until later in the evening.

Another emergency medicine doctor, Agnès Ricard-Hibon, who works as head of the Samu du Val-d’Oise emergency unit, told the newspaper: “It is logical that we imitate the Spanish rhythm.

“When it’s very hot, you have to get up earlier and take a break in the afternoon, especially if you’re a vulnerable person with a risk of complications due to dehydration.”

It might also be recommended to extend the classic 12-2pm shop and office closure and keep shops closed during the high heat of the early afternoon, and instead take evening strolls at 8pm, rather than earlier.

Pelloux said that as France transitions “from a temperate to a tropical climate, we will have to stop working between noon and 5 pm.” 

No more tanning and goodbye suits – With skin cancer on the rise in France, experts worry about the popularity of the tanning trend, particularly during the hottest parts of the day.

Emergency physician Christophe Prudhomme told Le Parisien that it might be necessary to “close beaches at the hottest times” in order to keep people safe from the heat.

He also said we might have to change our fashion habits – dark coloured clothing, such as suits, hold in heat on hot days. Prudhomme recommends embracing fashion trends with more breathable fabric, such as cotton or linen.

In Spain, prime minister Pedro Sanchez is leading the way by announcing that he will no longer wear a tie when the weather is hot.

Lighter lunches – Ricard-Hibo told Le Parisien that as the days go by, we must learn to accept the heat and lighten our lunches.

Other experts recommend eating lots of hydrating foods during heatwaves, so maybe this is your opportunity to test out a particularly tasty gazpacho for your midday meal. The Local Spain has some other delicious recommendations to test out during the hot weather. 

READ MORE: The best Spanish food and drink to keep you cool during the summer heat

What about the official governmental advice? 

Meanwhile, the French government’s official advice is of course to drink plenty of water, but it is also a bit contradictory to the gazpacho suggestion – in the graphic below, you can see the French government recommending regular meals to keep from feeling faint in the high temperatures.

The government also recommends keeping the shutters closed, avoiding alcohol (maybe go light on the sangria), and staying cool by ‘getting your body wet’ whether that be by jumping in a fountain or standing in a brumisateurs (the machine that pumps out water vapour).

Eat sufficient meals and shut the shutters – French government advice for staying cool in a heatwave