64 Parishes

Step into the Notre-Dame Cathedral

An augmented reality experience at The Historic New Orleans Collection

Published: November 29, 2022
Last Updated: February 28, 2023

Step into the Notre-Dame Cathedral


By 1180, within twenty years of the beginning of construction, the cathedral’s choir had been erected.

This winter, The Historic New Orleans Collection brings world heritage to life with a 360-degree augmented reality immersion into the 850-year history of Notre-Dame Cathedral and its ongoing restoration in the aftermath of the tragic fire of April 15, 2019. Notre-Dame de Paris: The Augmented Exhibition is designed and produced by Histovery, a French technology firm, in collaboration with the public institution in charge of the cathedral’s conservation and restoration, and is presented with the generous support of L’Oréal.

This visually stunning experience joins other interactive technology on display at The Historic New Orleans Collection’s state-of-the-art exhibition center at 520 Royal Street. Visitors will navigate Notre-Dame de Paris through the ages by using a HistoPad, an augmented-reality touch-screen tablet developed by Histovery. The handheld device transports visitors back in time through its immersive, interactive reconstructions. Visitors will observe builders and craftspeople laying the first stones in the Middle Ages, witness the coronation of Emperor Napoleon I in 1804, see the iconic spire designed by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc being erected during the mid-nineteenth-century restoration, look on as the Paris Fire Brigade battles the 2019 blaze, and watch current workers in action as they reconstruct this architectural masterpiece.

The HistoPad experience is designed to appeal to visitors of all ages, regardless of their comfort level with technology, and offers eleven language options. A self-guided virtual treasure hunt encourages exploration of the cathedral’s history and identification of items embedded within the augmented-reality screens.

The physical setting of the exhibition is also immersive and visually transports visitors inside the cathedral. Vinyl replicas of the cathedral’s flooring, stained-glass transfers on the windows, audio of Notre-Dame’s organs and tolling bells, and a projection of one of the cathedral’s famed rose windows, which miraculously survived the fire, complete the multi-sensory experience.

After a well-received opening at the France Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai, Notre-Dame de Paris was launched on an international tour. The Historic New Orleans Collection is the second site in the United States to host the innovative installation, following a lauded run at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.

“New Orleans is a city that understands the importance of buildings as places of history, while being all too aware of their fragile nature,” said Daniel Hammer, President and CEO of The Historic New Orleans Collection. “We are thrilled to bring this experience to the city and know that visitors will be awestruck by the cutting-edge technology and the way it communicates the history of one of the world’s most iconic buildings and what it takes to preserve it in the face of destruction.”

The exhibition’s emphasis on the restoration of the cathedral aligns with The Historic New Orleans Collection’s ongoing work to restore and maintain Vieux Carré buildings and steward them for future generations. As proud host of Notre-Dame de Paris, THNOC pays tribute to the region’s French roots while embracing the promise of technological innovation to explore the many layers of history.

Notre-Dame de Paris: The Augmented Exhibition runs through March 19, 2023. Find out more at hnoc.org.