The 6 places of virtual reality in Paris

The 6 places of virtual reality in Paris

Paris has nothing to envy its competitors New York or Tokyo, it now has the vocabulary of artificial intelligence and a myriad of places that explore virtual reality. From the Atelier des Lumières to the Gîté lyrique, we play with an imaginary future.

The Workshop of Lights

This is the new Parisian place that celebrates digital. Recently reopened, this former foundry in the Chemin vert district now houses 140 video projectors in its 2,000 m2. This first presentation honors Gustav Klimt, the Viennese master of the Secession movement whose works are projected on the walls and floor. We thus witness the parade in music of the Golden Knight extracted from the Beethoven Frieze, Judith, his Tree of Life and figures painted by Egon Schiele. The journey into early 20th century Vienna ends with a projection of the works of the artist and architect Hundertwasser, desecrator of the straight line and worthy heir in his conception of the perspective of Klimt and Schiele. And since the venue is intended to support contemporary creation, the Studio room hosts the video work of the Turkish collective Ouchhh, which proposes a digital journey to the heart of artificial intelligence.

The Workshop of Lights. 38, rue Saint-Maur (XIe). Tlj from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fri. and sam. until 22 h. From 9,50 € to 14,50 €.

VR Geode

Opened in 2016, the space of more than 100 m2 located under the large hemispherical room is entirely dedicated to VR (virtual reality) and allows you to learn about the virtual world. For this, a course of just over an hour (18€), in four stages, is proposed to the participants (9 people maximum). Once equipped with a helmet, we first test our reflexes, our observation and deduction abilities on latest generation consoles, supervised by trainers; then, we dive under glaciers, we approach Emperor penguins and we rub shoulders with aliens (5€, the Cinema 360 session only). We then discover the equipment of the salon du futur, ultraconnected. And finally, last activity open in spring 2017, we experience virtual reality in motion by flying over the Alps sitting on the back of an eagle and experiencing the roller coaster “Mammut”, strapped on a dynamic 5D platform (€6 activity only). Thrills guaranteed!

VR Geode. 26, av. Corentin-Cariou (XIX). Fri., Sam. and sun. from 11 a.m. to 5: 45 p.m.


For more than a year, MK2 Bibliothèque has installed a virtual reality complex five minutes from its movie theaters for everyone. Thirteen activities are divided into 3 types of programs: simulator experiences, cinematic sessions and interactive content. You can evolve in space, on Antarctica or in Babylon, live with insects in 3 D or even trace the history of humanity by being a dinosaur, a monkey and a robot. Once the helmet is on the eyes, we organize his session according to his desires. The space of 150 m2 is not partitioned and screens allow to visualize the content of the animations, which erases the individual aspect and gives a really friendly side. At the beginning of each session, facilitators greet participants and explain the various attractions.

MK 2 VR at MK2 Library. 160, bc. of France (thirteenth). LUN. fri. 4 to 9 p.m., Sat. from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Purchase of 20 or 50 minute passes (from €12).

Journey to the heart of evolution

At the Grand Galerie de l’évolution (Ve), visitors immerse themselves in the knowledge of the tree of life. MNHN Orange-Manzalab C. Desgardins

Located on the 3rd floor of the Grande Galerie de l’évolution, the virtual reality studio is one of the first permanent spaces in France. Equipped with headphones and controllers, the visitor immerses himself in the knowledge of the tree of life. How old is our Universe? Who is our ancestor? Answers to multiple questions about more than 450 species. After a guided sequence, three options are available to the visitor: a game about kinship ties, an exploration of 50 species by clicking on each bubble of the bush of the living and the visit of the gallery in 3D, where you can observe from all angles 26 species in life size and learn many funny anecdotes. The experience is educational and fun.

Natural history museum. 36, rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire (Ve). Sea. and weekends from 10: 30 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. and from 1: 30 p.m. to 5: 30 p.m. (tlj during school holidays). From 12 years. 5 € in addition to the entrance to the museum. Duration: 30 min, 5 positions per session.

La Gaîté Lyrique, pioneer

Opened in 2011, in place of the old theatre, la Gaîté is entirely dedicated to digital cultures and contemporary music and to exhibitions, concerts, screenings, workshops … To see at the moment, Capitaine futur and la supernature (€7), composed of fifteen virtual works, until July 15.

The lyrical Gaiety. 3 bis, rue Papin (III). Mar. to sam. from 12 pm to 9 pm and sun. from 12: 00 to 19: 00. Tel.: 01 53 01 52 00.


As at the airport, we start with the boarding room. Before taking a little training. Takeoff is imminent. A jetpack simulator in the back, the belt buckled and a virtual reality headset on the head, it feels like you are taking a leap into the future. Thirteen minutes of wonder flying over the capital with a 360° view and real images captured by drones. An unprecedented experience since flying over Paris is forbidden. Except for FlyView, who got permission to shoot in August 2016, very early in the morning, to make the film. Three years of work, sixty employees, one year of filming, 7 million euros invested. This is the baby of Arnaud Houette, the creator of FlyView, who describes his project as “a virtual reality attraction”. He confides that his idea “was born from a childhood dream”. Many visits to places before finding the right one to give birth to this recently inaugurated project. Everyone follows the same path. Although one can look in different directions, one cannot choose one’s own route. We don’t fly, but we let ourselves be carried. The film is not continuous but cut by transitions for changes of locations. We rediscover from another angle the Arc de triomphe, the Champs-Élysées, the Place de la Concorde, the basins of the Trocadéro, Notre-Dame de Paris and its gargoyles, the Seine. Vertigo assured for the passage of the Eiffel Tower. The aim of the attraction by its founder was to address all audiences. And not only to the “geek” culture. You should not go there hoping to feel the same as on a roller coaster. Even if some passages are somewhat ascending. Finally, the experience proves conclusive and we stock up on sensations. Both Parisians and tourists will appreciate. If successful, FlyView will repeat the experience with London, Rome or New York. But only one small regret, a quality of images that leaves a little to be desired. We are looking forward to the next generation helmets!

FlyView. 30, rue du 4 septembre (II), 15 €, minimum height 1,20 m. Tel.: 01 83 62 12 36.

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