New virtual reality telescope by the Seine shows off medieval Paris

A new virtual reality telescope, known as a Timescope, has been erected in Paris and aims to transport its users back to the year 1628 to show them what life would have been like at the same spot during the Middle Ages.

Timescope, the virtual reality telescope near the Pont d’Arcole bridge in Paris. Image by Timescope Facebook

Located next to the Pont d’Arcole bridge, along the newly pedestrianised area on the Georges Pompidou road, the free Timescope viewer gives a 360-degree interpretation of the medieval Paris, with cargo boats slowly rocking under the weight of their goods and the skyline standing as it would have done.

The Pont d’Arcole virtual reality telescope is the second Timescope machine to be installed in the city. The first is located at Place de la Bastille where users can see what Bastille prison looked like between 1416 and 1789, on the night before the French Revolution. All the footage has been verified by historians.

Timescope virtual reality telescope. Image by Timescope Facebook

The founders of Timescope, Basile Segalen and Adrien Sadaka came up the idea after coming away disappointed from a trip to Pompeii. They had wanted a better idea of what the city was like before Mount Vesuvius erupted.

The Pont d’Arcole viewer is part of a larger development in the French capital known as the Rives de Seine. Mayor Anne Hidalgo had banned motorised vehicles along both banks of the Seine, devoting that space to a new 10-hecatre park instead. Since the ban came into force, pollution in the area has reduced by 25%.

Timescope virtual reality telescope beside the Pont d’Arcole bridge. Image by Timescope Facebook

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Rives de Seine, Hidalgo said: ‘It has been 15 years since we dreamed of giving back to pedestrians and children the use of this magnificent promenade.’ As well as green space, the park also has climbing walls and a football pitch. A possible bicycle repair shop in the pipeline too.

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