Musée du Louvre Free iPhone App Tours "The Louvre"

If you’re interested in art or French history and architecture (including all the gilded gaudiness of royal excess in the 18th and 19th centuries), the Musée de Louvre mobile app is a great way to see some of what’s in this world-famous museum.

The Musée du Louvre iPhone app, which was published by the museum itself, offers a brief, but detailed, tour of the museum most of us call “The Louvre." The tour includes images, video, information about the palace (it was built in the 12th Century as a fortress, and eventually housed French royalty, including some of the Napolean family), and handy visitor information about the museum.

The artwork section is presented in an iPhone Cover Flow format. Starting with the Mona Lisa front and center, you can flip through a score or so of the major artworks on display at the museum. Tap an individual painting, sculpture, or other piece of art, and a larger image of the work opens. Tap the larger image, and you get a new pane with buttons for About the Work, See More Detail, Technical Information, and Location.

You can use the buttons to get a history of the work, including who created it, what it is about, and what kinds of material were used to create it. The See More Detail button offers close-up images of the art, which you can zoom in on by using the iPhone’s pinch gestures. The Location button reveals a map that shows where the artwork is displayed in the museum.

But wait, there’s more! Musée du Louvre includes several high-definition videos of different pieces of art and parts of the museum. In a great use of Apple technology, each video is narrated in French, English, German, and Japanese. Note that the default language is French, but you can change it by tapping the information icon on the playback controls — this feature isn’t readily apparent, so many people think the videos are offered only in French.

The Palace section of the app offers a detailed look at the major sections of the building that houses the museum. Tap a selection in Cover Flow mode, and you get a picture with options for a short history, detailed pictures you can flip through, a video (if one is available — you're linked to the same videos mentioned earlier), and a map of the section in the museum.

If you find something you particularly like or want to come back to, you can bookmark entries by tapping the star on the entry’s main page. You can access bookmarks from the main window of the app.

If you’re lucky enough to be going to Le Louvre in person, the app offers directions, hours of operation, admission fees, information about the different services and amenities offered, as well as contact information. Being able to access this information makes this app invaluable to anyone who's going to see the real deal.

The text in the app is searchable, which makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.

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