The drone pilot behind the virtual tour of Lourdes launched during the pandemic

 | 
06/02/2022
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In March 2020, at the height of the pandemic, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, one of the most popular pilgrim destinations, closed to the public for the first time in its history.

But the pandemic lockdown was no match for Célian de La Rochefoucauld, who used his drone piloting and digitization skills to create a virtual tour of the shrine, making it accessible to people unable to travel.

CÉLIAN DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD
LR Drones / You Heritage
“The goal of this project is to make our heritage accessible to everyone. Some parts of the population can't go and visit our heritage [sites] because they have a handicap or other problems. The idea is to say: You can't come? Don't worry. We come to meet you.”

Célian worked day and night to complete the biggest project he's ever taken on. He was given permission to roam the grounds (and skies) freely, and was practically the only person at the shrine for 15 days.

CÉLIAN DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD
LR Drones / You Heritage
“When you're alone in the sanctuary, you feel very small, because it's very huge. And you can't see how huge is the sanctuary if you're not alone, I think, in this place. And for a Christian, it was something very exciting and very impressive.”

The free virtual tour is available online (youheritage.com) and on the Sanctuary of Lourdes app. It's even compatible with virtual reality headsets, which offer viewers a 360-degree experience of the shrine.

The tour includes visual and audio guides with historical information about the different locations within the shrine, as well as prayer guides and background information on the Rosary and other Marian prayers.

Célian de La Rochefoucauld's unique project has already reached some 53,000 people from 162 countries. Although he says nothing beats the experience of visiting Lourdes in person, he hopes more people will enjoy the unique bird's eye view his drones provide of this and other important religious and cultural sites.

CT

FL / LR Drones

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