Google Creates Detailed Virtual Reality Tour of Versailles


Visitors may no longer need to wait for hours in a queue to visit the Palace of Versailles. The site, one of the most visited in the world, has now been captured in its entirety in VR.

This task was taken up by Google, who used photogrammetry – a technique that allows to reconstruct the human stereoscopic vision in a faithful manner. The project included 21 rooms and 387,500 square feet of captured surfaces all together and, with the help of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the users can have a closer look at over 100 sculptures, paintings and more. All of them can be viewed in incredible detail. 

Google says it has collected more than 4 TB of data and textured about 15 billion pixels to make the project happen. The app developed by the company Mountain View allows, among other things, to visit the apartments of the king and queen, the royal chapel and opera, but also the famous Hall of Mirrors. It is the fruit of a collaboration of five years between these two amazing partners, who have promised to observe and show as closely as they can “our heritage in its most total diversity”.

Accessible via Steam, the experience “VersaillesVR: the castle is yours” has also been modeled from 132,000 shots. During the visit, you are welcome to click on the various elements in order to obtain fact sheets about them. Everything is within reach for those who are interested and, if you want to experience a more intimate tour, you can switch to Night Mode and explore the castle by candle light. 

For now, the experience is only available via Vive or Rift headsets but if you don’t own any of them, Google has an online exhibition available for Versailles which includes over 390 assets like artifacts and paintings. All of them are accompanied by audio tracks from historical experts. 

If you want to have a look, you can find all of Versailles’ treasures online at Google’s Arts & Culture site. 

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