Famously opulent and sprawling, the Palace of Versailles is one of France’s top tourist destinations, and fully worth the brief train ride from Paris. But if you have a Steam-compatible VR headset, you can now view the Palace from home — with a better tour and more detail than you’d get in person, thanks to Google’s new VersaillesVR app, subtitled “the Palace is yours.”
Much like the recent Il Divino: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in VR, VersaillesVR offers a virtual experience that goes beyond the limitations of a typical visit to the site. Google’s VersaillesVR site and an explanatory video note that photogrammetry provides up-close access to palace artwork, in some cases at the distance of a “visible fleck of paint.”
Multiple objects from 24 rooms of the palace can be spun around in 3D and examined up close, with full descriptions, and you can teleport from room to room at will. Google says it captured 36,000 square meters of space, including walls and roofs, which matters given that even Versailles’ ceilings have been decorated with incredible art.
Anyone who has experienced the actual Palace knows that while the huge, elaborately decorated rooms are stunning in person, tourists aren’t able to peek around cabinets or see the views from the beds of the King and Queen. Google’s access to the rooms and antiques makes this possible. You also get a personal, uninterrupted view of normally crowded rooms, such as the famous Hall of Mirrors, and you can explore Versailles’ gardens, Chapel, and Royal Opera House, including a view from the King’s private box.
VersaillesVR is available now as a free download from Steam and works with Valve’s Index, HTC’s Vive, and Oculus Rift headsets. The experience requires a Windows 10 PC with 20GB of available storage and at least a Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU. French, English, and Chinese language text is included.