See Paris like you’ve never seen it before with Google’s Curio-cité virtual tour

Think you can’t afford to spend the holidays in Paris? Think again.

Sure, it might not be the exact equivalent of flying to Europe and walking down the Champs-Élysées, but thanks to Google, you might be able to experience an acceptable alternative. It’s all thanks to Curio-cité from Google Arts & Culture, a new initiative that the tech giant calls a fresh way to rediscover our cities.

With Curio-cité, you can virtually follow guides, artists, and experts on a tour of Paris like you’ve never seen it before (even if you have been to the City of Light in real life). The first episode of the new interactive tour invites viewers to visit 10 “different hidden corners,” including the mysterious “underground lake” of the Palais Garnier opera house, which served as inspiration for the classic book and Broadway show “Phantom of the Opera.” You can meander down the Petite Ceinture, the seemingly forgotten railway that once encircled Paris, or explore the largest collective exhibition of street art in history at the Tour Paris 13.

Google also offers the companionship of urban explorer and photographer David de Rueda, with whom you can take a 360-degree immersive tour of the historic Papeteries de la Seine, a recently closed paper mill.

Available for free on the web, iOS and Android, you can also experience Curio-cité in all its glory if you own a Google Cardboard. And while Paris is the subject of the first episode, Google definitely isn’t closing the door on exploring more destinations around the world. “Who knows,” the company said, “Maybe we’ll meet up again in a few months to explore a different city…”

So if you’re a bit over budget on vacations this year but still want to go globetrotting, just sit down in front of your computer (or with your smartphone), pour yourself some champagne, and check out Curio-cité.

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