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Le Louvre: as if you were there!

20 November 2009no comments iPhone Apps

Some of you may not know it, but I am from France, and more precisely from Paris. There are a few things that Parisian are particularly proud of, but two monuments automatically spring to mind: the Eiffel tower and le Louvre. I haven’t as of yet found an app relating to the former (if you think you have a great idea post it on appboy!) but there is one for the latter.

As far as I can remember, the group responsible for Louvre has always been at the forefront of the new media. I remember a time, where you could visit the museum on a computer. I am not even saying online because it was at the time when multimedia was in it’s infancy and windows 95 merely a project!
And it looks like they may have done it again, but this time on the iPhone.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: nobody can argue that an app called “le Louvre” is not going to have great content! The museum holds some of the most famous and most recognisable pieces of art in the world, whether it is painting or sculpture, the most famous one being the Mona Lisa. It is also a great place with a lot of history: it used to be the palace for the French kings until they moved to Versailles. It is said that it would take a visitor several days to view the whole of the Louvre.

With that much to show, the challenge is how to do justice to that many pieces in a simple usable application. To me, the developers have pulled it off! The way to navigate this application is identical to the way you would browse albums on the iPod: by flicking left or right. Once the application is started, you are presented with the top level menu which takes you to different sections of the app (Artwork, Tour of the Louvre, The Palace, etc…). As I said before, to navigate through this menu, flick left or right and tap the screen to select. There is also a small arrow icon at the bottom left to allow you to go back and magnifier icon to search through the app.

Navigating through each of the sub-sections is similar. So if you have selected the artwork section for example, all you need to do is flick left or right to view the different pieces and tap to select them. Selecting one of the piece of arts allows you to view that piece in more details and get access to a lot more information than just a small picture: if for example you select the Mona Lisa, you can see a detailed picture of the painting as well as a brief historical description, some technical details about the painting and a video giving a more detail commentary. You also get a map of the Louvre showing where to see the painting in the museum, which you probably won’t need if you use this app! The last but in my opinion best feature is that you can bookmark the pieces you would like to go back to later on: this is particularly useful considering the amount of data available through this app.

It would take me a lot more time to go through the content of this app in details, and probably would take away the pleasure of discovering it. I must admit that this has become one of my top favourite applications for iPhone/iPod Touch. The multimedia division of the Louvre has again built a well crafted information packed application. To think that they have managed to make that much information in such a user friendly way is amazing. This application is free, but I would have gladly paid for it.

My Verdict 5/5.

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