If you would love to see around Château de Versailles in France from the comfort of your sofa, Google Arts & Culture has just completed an immersive virtual-reality re-creation of the palace that the country's most famous kings once called home.
Louis XIV transformed his father’s hunting lodge into the monumental Château de Versailles in the mid-17th century, and it remains France’s most famous and grand palace. Situated in the leafy, bourgeois suburb of Versailles, 22km southwest of central Paris, the baroque château was the kingdom’s political capital and the seat of the royal court from 1682 up until the fateful events of 1789 when revolutionaries massacred the palace guard. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were ultimately dragged back to Paris, where they were guillotined.
From the comfort of your own home, you can check out a new online exhibition, Versailles: The Palace is Yours. The new app, VersaillesVR, takes visitors on a virtual reality tour of the château's Royal Grand Apartments, the Chapel and the Opera. Photogrammetry was used to capture the imagery, which is a technology that reconstructs three-dimensional models of objects and landmarks from two-dimensional photographs.
"It’s an invitation to discover the secrets of Versailles, and a magnificent sneak peek for those who might plan to visit in person," says Catherine Pégard, president of the Palace of Versailles, writing on Google's blog. "Though nothing will ever replace the emotion of actually stepping into the Palace, we hope this visual immersion might inspire you to do just that."
Viewers can also see 18 new online exhibitions featuring 340 artworks, as well as 18 never-before-seen 3D models of iconic rooms and objects. You can also explore the 73-metre-long Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Bed or Marie-Antoinette’s jewellery cabinet.
You can check out the VersaillesVR app here.