History buffs and virtual travelers have a new Internet time sink that is sure to kill hours at a time. Dassault Systèmes, a company that specializes in making unique 3-D virtual reality simulations is painstakingly recreating the city of Paris using their advanced computer modeling systems. But not content just to show the City of Lights in its current form, the company is recreating it at various stages throughout history, allowing us to explore how it evolved and grew over time.
The virtual city, which can be accessed by clicking here, traces the origins of Paris back to the Roman conquest in 52 B.C. Over the centuries it developed into one of the largest and most vibrant cities on the planet and all of that plays out here in this digital model, which lets you select from several different eras. Landmarks such as Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower pop into the landscape as time passes, giving us an unprecedented look at a living city that changed over the ages to meet the needs of its citizens.
Paris 3D can be explored from a web browser and requires the user to download a special plug-in to make it work. I had a few issues getting it to run on my Mac using Safari, so you may want to try another browser when giving this a go. There is also an iPad app available but it is a more constrained experience. Both versions are fascinating to play with and any fan of Paris will enjoy the opportunity to stroll its streets and explore the city’s history.