Craving for some art and culture? Sit back and relax, open a bottle of wine, settle into your couch and explore France’s cultural heritage at your fingertips. Enjoy the virtual walkthrough at your pace, rewind the podcast at your convenience, admire the visual displays without having the security guards bother you.
Let’s travel to Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux (virtually, of course) and visit some extraordinary museums that have opened up their vast collections and archives to the public. Whether you are an art connoisseur, a history lover, a wine aficionado or just a curious individual, there is something in store for everyone here. To help you plan your future itinerary, we have put together a list of virtual tours, slideshows and digital audio files for your next trip to France.
Musée D’Orsay: From A Railway Station to A World Class Art Gallery
This building was conceived in the late nineteenth century as a railway station to operate trains between Paris and Orleans. In 1970, the authorities had planned to demolish the structure to build a new hotel. However, due to timely intervention by the French government, this plan was ruled out and the idea of constructing a new museum (External link) took shape. The online exhibit (External link) delves deeper into the history of this unusual museum, which is located in the heart of Paris along the banks of the river Seine, opposite the Tuileries garden.
This charming museum (which in itself is a “work of art”) now boasts a staggering collection of impressionist and post-impressionist European masters from the period of 1848 to 1914. While there is an extensive display of artworks in this online collection (External link) , we have chosen three iconic masterpieces that you must take a look at!
- Dance at Moulin de la Galette by Renoir (External link) , captures the joyful frenzy at Montmartre
- Blue Water Lilies by Monet (External link) , draws attention to his beautiful gardens in Giverny
- The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise by Van Gogh (External link) , depicts a quaint village in the outskirts of Paris
Musée des Confluences- Science Centre and Anthropology Museum
The natural composition of the southern tip of Presqu’île in Lyon, where two water bodies (Saône and Rhône) converge, inspired the design and the architecture of this museum. The deconstructivist layout (External link) resembles a floating crystal cloud of stainless steel and glass, punctuated by the endless passages and exhibition rooms.
The four major exhibitions on the online expo are called "Origins - Stories of the World" (External link) , "Species - the Web of life" (External link) , "Societies - Human theatre," (External link) and "Eternities - Visions of the beyond" (External link) . The first exhibit deals with the question of the origin of the world and our place in it. The second exhibit, "Species", explores the links between humans and animals. The third exhibit, "Societies" is about communities and how humans engage with them. And finally, "Eternities" deals with the meaning of life and death, and how this phenomenon is dealt with, in different societies.
La Cité du Vin: Journey to the heart of wine culture
Located by the banks of the Garonne River, far upstream from the Bordeaux city centre, lies a unique destination (External link) where wine comes to life through an immersive, sensorial and innovative experience. Every element of the architecture is inspired by an uninterrupted conversation between Bordeaux’s terroirs (External link) and its inhabitants.
This museum offers a wide range of activities and interactions documenting the spectacular journey of wine, across countless civilisations and cultures. It also offers several wine-tasting workshops and guided tours (External link) . These blogs will help you with a deeper understanding of the history and culture of wine!
- “Douro, a tale of riverside vineyards (External link) ” the blog explores thousand years of history of the region
- “Humour and art at the service of moderation (External link) ”, the blog humourously talks about the consequences of excessive consumption
- “Has the taste of wine changed much over the centuries? (External link) ”, the blog describes the evolution in wine-techniques and consumption