Louvre iPhone app: Quelle horreur!

A smattering of paintings and handful of 20-second video tours are no substitute for, nor even a proper taste of, the world's largest museum. At least it's free.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
The woefully incomplete Louvre app for iPhone offers little to smile about.

J'adore France and the French people. But I'm pretty disappointed with Musee du Louvre, a free but painfully brief virtual tour of the famous museum.

The app consists of four main sections. In Louvre: The Visit, you get a video tour of seven well-known areas of the museum, including The Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa.

However, each "tour" lasts less than 20 seconds, and the default language is French. If you tap the screen to bring up the controls and then tap the language icon, you can select English (or German or Japanese), but there's no way to make it the default. You have to perform this step for each video, each time you watch it.

In Artworks, you get a Cover Flow-style selection of famous paintings--but only 20 of them. Tap one to get information about the work, a zoom-and-pan-able full-screen view, and a map showing its location within the museum.

The Palace follows the same format, but focuses on areas of the Louvre itself rather than individual artworks.

Finally, there's the prerequisite visitor information, including hours and admission fees--but no maps to or of the museum (save for the aforementioned few).

Musee du Louvre does let you bookmark any item for easy reference, but with so little content, this seems rather pointless. Hopefully the curators developers will turn this incomplete tease of an app into the rich, arts-friendly resource it should be.

In the meantime, anyone planning a visit to the actual museum would be much better served by Rick Steves' Louvre Tour ($4.99).