If you plan a trip to Paris, you are already lucky. But if you are among the 86 millions of people who could not put down Dan Brown’s best-seller The Da Vinci Code, some of your visits might even get a particular flavour of being in the footsteps of the mysterious symbologist Robert Langdon.
Indeed, The Da Vinci Code and Paris are inextricably linked as Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu stroll through some of the city’s most famous monuments. Here are four places where you can crack the Da Vinci Code by yourself!
1.] The Ritz
The luxury Parisian hotel where Robert Langdon stays. Not many occult signs here, but you can still try to uncover the mystery of how a symbology teacher can afford a room in one of Paris’s most expensive hotels (around 700 € a night for the cheapest room).
2.] Saint-Sulpice church
A crucial place in the story, as this is where the murderer of Jacques Saunière will be retrieving a hidden keystone. Watch out for a golden brass line on the church’s ground: to Robert Langdon it is the « Pink Line » supposed to divide France in two equal parts. In the church you may also find panels explaining its role as a primary astronomic instrument.
Inspect the stained glass windows: some of them display the letters « P » and « S » supposedly for « Prieuré de Sion », the secret society who has sworn to protect Jesus’ descendants in the book. Actually it would rather stand for « Pierre » (Saint-Peter) and Sulpice.
3.] On Paris’ pavements
There are over 135 medallions like this one all over Paris: as Robert Langdon rightfully notes, they indicate the North and South of the first Paris meridian « Arago » is a homage to a French astronomer and physician. You may find one in front of the Palais Royal, just next to the Louvre.
4.] The Louvre
The most important place in the story: where Jacques Saunière is murdered at the beginning of the intrigue, and where the story ends, showing the unalterable relation between The Da Vinci Code and Paris. The Glass Pyramid, was built there at the demand of French President François Mitterrand would supposedly count 666 diamond-shaped glasses, a number traditionally associated to the devil. Actually, no matter how you try to count them you will never find this same exact number. As a general fun fact it is to know there is a love-hate relationship between The Da Vinci Code and Paris as the book advertised the city but sometimes provided wrong information. Going through the Louvre Great Gallery you will, in addition to all the masterpieces, be at the precise crime scene where Jacques Saunière was murdered, right in front of la Joconde.
A less well-known spot: look for this painting, called « The death of the Virgin Mary » by the Caravage. In an attempt to escape his murderer, Jacques Saunière pulls out this painting to get the alarm to set off.