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Exploring Paris during the lockdown: virtual exhibits, concerts, and visits

Are you locked down at home but dream of wandering through a Paris museum, attending a concert at the Philharmonic, or visiting a historic site in the capital?  It’s more possible than you might think thanks to the internet.  See what some of Paris’s many museums and cultural sites have in store for us online during the confinement.


For art lovers

Since the beginning of January, nearly 300,000 digital reproductions of famous works of art in the 14 museums of the City of Paris have been made available to the public for viewing or download via the Paris Musées website. Until about two months ago, this initiative was primarily intended to facilitate access to and promote the notoriety of these works of art in France and abroad. Today, however, in full confinement mode, the Open Content project has allowed us to (re)discover some of the most superb pieces the Paris Musées collection has to offer without ever having to step foot outside.  You can peruse these high definition digitized works on the Paris Musées website.

The Louvre is also offering its own host of online content for us during this time, from thematic virtual tours and podcasts to videos and cartoons for kids.  Be sure to check out the “œuvre du jour” on the museum’s home page to learn more about a different work of art from the Louvre’s collection every day.  And for the music-lovers, the museum has a selection of concerts filmed in its auditorium now available online for public viewing and listening.  Check out the Louvre’s homepage for more information.

The Centre Pompidou is also offering exclusive virtual visits to its exhibits, like Francis Bacon, Dora Maar, Vasarely, and Christian Boltanski.  And every Wednesday at 3 PM, a film from their collection is shown, accompanied by commentary and analysis of other works in the museum’s collection.


For classical music lovers

Thanks to the Paris Philharmonic’s strong online presence, you can watch more than 100 concerts in their entirety for free; consult close to 1,000 other videos, mini-documentaries, and lectures; and take a virtual backstage tour of the Philharmonic via Google Arts and Culture.  What’s more, every evening at 8:30 PM, the Philharmonic presents its “concert of the day,” made freely available online for 24 hours… a fun surprise that will add some cultural pep to your nightly lockdown ritual.


For opera lovers

After the initiative of the New York Opera to broadcast its shows for free online, the Paris Opera has taken the same digital turn, rummaging through its archives to concoct a tailor-made program for online viewers, scheduled to run until May 3rd.  Check out The Tales of Hoffmann (2016) until April 26th, Carmen (2017)  until May 3, and Tchaikovsky’s symphonies until May 3.  Other great operas, ballets, and symphonies, are also available for online viewing from the Opera’s website in partnership with France 5 and Octave.


For history buffs and museum-goers

More and more emblematic sites in and around Paris, like le Sénat, the Palais Garnier, and even the Château de Versailles have opened their doors for virtual tours via Google Arts and Culture.  These freely available exhibits are presented in partnership with museum curators to provide virtual museum-goers the ultimate interactive guide.

Other cultural sites, like the Eiffel Tower, have organized virtual tours through their main websites, while Notre-Dame has teamed up with the Paris Musées to present its exhibit “Notre-Dame de Paris en plus de 100 œuvres” online.







Sources: Que faire à Paris pendant le confinement ? ; 150 000 œuvres issues des musées parisiens en libre accès numérique ! ; Les représentations de l’Opéra de Paris diffusées gratuitement en ligne ! ; Confinement : le Château de Versailles nous offre une magnifique visite virtuelle !

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