An evening with the Impressionists: we tried out the virtual reality experience at the Musée d'Orsay

Published by Laurent de Sortiraparis · Photos by Laurent de Sortiraparis · Published on March 25th, 2024 at 09:07 p.m.
Un soir avec les impressionnistes - Paris 1874 is the virtual reality experience offered by the Musée d'Orsay from March 26 to August 11, 2024, to mark the 150th anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition. Relive this very first exhibition in Nadar's studio, meet legendary artists such as Monet and Renoir, and immerse yourself in 19th-century Paris. We've tried it, we'll tell you!

An unparalleled immersion in Paris' first Impressionist exhibition... The Musée d'Orsay invites art and virtual reality enthusiasts to a unique experience, entitled Un soir avec les impressionnistes - Paris 1874, from March 26 to August 11, 2024. This VR experience, imagined in co-production with Gédéon programmes, Emissive and the museum and held as part of the exhibition Paris 1874, inventing Impressionism, transports you to Paris on April 15, 1874, to witness the inauguration of the first Impressionist exhibition. Taking you on a journey to photographer Nadar 's former studio on Boulevard des Capucines, this adventure lets you relive a key moment inart history, surrounded by the works and key figures of the period.

Donning a state-of-the-art virtual reality headset, visitors are immersed in the captivating atmosphere of 19th-century Paris. They stroll along Boulevard des Capucines and enterNadar's studio, where they meet renowned artists such as Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Paul Cézanne, Camille Pissaro and Edgar Degas. This tour offers a spectacular immersion, where you discover the complex links between these artists, their works, and the birth and evolution of Impressionism.

Paris 1874, inventer l'impressionnisme : l'exposition événement du musée d'Orsay - IMG 5570Paris 1874, inventer l'impressionnisme : l'exposition événement du musée d'Orsay - IMG 5570Paris 1874, inventer l'impressionnisme : l'exposition événement du musée d'Orsay - IMG 5570Paris 1874, inventer l'impressionnisme : l'exposition événement du musée d'Orsay - IMG 5570

Un soir avec les impressionnistes - Paris 1874 is based on exhaustive research, using cadastres, architectural plans, aerial photographs and various archives to faithfully reproduce Nadar 's studio and the first Impressionist exhibition. The experience is open to everyone aged 11 and over, with a restriction for children under 8. However, it is not recommended for people prone to epileptic seizures, migraines, or with balance or vision problems.

Our review of the VR experience "An evening with the Impressionists":

On the opening day of the Paris 1874, Inventing Impressionism exhibition on March 25, we were offered a most curious museum experience: a virtual reality "adventure" taking you back in time to 1874, to meet renowned artists... We jump at the chance.

For your information, theVR experience is available in addition to the exhibition ticket, and is located at the back of the museum's main gallery, after the Paris 1874 exhibition. Once you've arrived, you put your belongings in a locker (compulsory), introduce yourself at the reception desk, you're given a free-roaming VR headset (no computer on your back and no cable, for absolute freedom of movement), you're given a few instructions... And off you go!

These instructions are repeated at the start of the experience, allowing you to familiarize yourself with the space and movements. It's very well done and very fluid, if you've ever experienced virtual reality. But if you've never done it before, don't worry: the explanations are very clear, ensuring your safety and comfort.

Then the experience begins... We find ourselves propelled along Boulevard des Capucines, in the company of Rose, our guide to the experience. The chatty young woman is a model for painters! And very quickly, after a tour of theOpéra Garnier to set the scene and a visit to Nadar (the photographer), we get right to the heart of the matter... And so, we visit this exhibition in the company of the artists: Renoir, Degas, Monet, Cézanne, Berthe Morizot... All of them take us on a tour of their works, explaining them as a tour guide or art historian would. In terms of immersion, it's hard to beat it!

Graphically speaking, this is VR, so don't expect anything too advanced (the NPCs, with the exception of the experience's protagonists, have no faces, for example, which can be a little unsettling). But space is so immense, both in real and virtual reality... You can imagine the titanic work that went into creating this universe, and it's particularly impressive. Movements are also ultra-smooth, with Rose often inviting us to follow her (don't hesitate, by the way).

Special mention should be made of the sequence in Bougival, as well as in Le Havre with Monet, with backgrounds (trees, sky, clouds, sun) that echo the artistic codes of the Impressionists (yes, the creators of the experience, if you're reading us, we've noticed...), making the whole thing very beautiful and poetic. A very special experience, very pretty and ideal for easily learning and understanding everything about the history of the Impressionists and this exhibition. Don't miss it!

A rare opportunity to walk alongside the giants of Impressionism and experience a pivotal moment in artistic history. The Musée d'Orsay awaits you for this unique virtual reality adventure, which promises to enrich your understanding and appreciation of Impressionist art. All you have to do is book!

Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
From March 26th, 2024 to August 11th, 2024

× Approximate opening times: to confirm opening times, please contact the establishment.


    62 rue de Lille
    75007 Paris 7

    Accessibility info

    Average duration
    50 min

    Official website

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