Jet-Setting and Set-Jetting to Break the Code
Twenty-six million tourists visited Paris in 2006, a record number confirming Paris as the number one tourist destination in the world. With the Da Vinci Code blockbuster film opening this coming Wednesday, all eyes are on Paris, Le Louvre, Eglise Saint-Sulpice and points in between — so this year is sure to break even that record.
Remember, the story’s opening crime takes place in the Grand Gallery of Le Louvre? Jacques Saunière, curator at the Louvre, is found murdered in the vicinity of the greatest masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance. Later, the protagonists meet beneath “La Pyramide Inversée,” the Inverted Pyramid skylight in the underground shopping mall in front of the Louvre.
Ever since the bestseller hit the bookshelves, Ellen McBreen of Paris Muse was quick to respond and capitalize on the craze. The tour company explores “where does fact end and fiction begin?” — in two different in-depth tours to help decide: “Cracking The Da Vinci Code at the Louvre, a private “2.5 hour museum tour of the Louvre with maximum of 4 people for €95 to and €110 per person available when the Louvre is open, and “The Da Vinci Code Trail,” w 2.5 hour group walking tour on Fridays only from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for €30 each.
At Eglise Saint-Sulpice, Silas, the Opus Dei monk in the story, goes to find the keystone, the supposed map leading to the treasure of the Templars at the Place. The church as never been more popular, to the point of overload. In David Downie’s January 25th article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Brown’s claim that a temple of Isis lies beneath the sanctuary is refuted, but he writes that “conspiracy theorists may be pleased to learn that a sub-crypt containing five tombs” and “according to the Guide de Paris Mystérieux, it was in the Romanesque church’s graveyard that in 1619 three witches attempted to evoke the devil, and for many years, local residents held ‘macabre dances’ on the toppled tombstones.”
Maison de la France has jumped on the Da Vinci Code bandwagon offering the public to “Win a Codebreaker Prize Package!” They teamed up with VisitBritain, VisitScotland, Sony Pictures and Eurostar to offer a chance to win a unique Codebreaker prize package, by following in the footsteps of book and film characters Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu.
Film tourism, recently dubbed “set-jetting,” is now a recognized phenomenon in the global tourism trade. Eurostar, seizing the opportunity, signed a multi-million-dollar deal with Columbia Pictures to market
The Da Vinci Code movie. In Erik Rutherford’s May 14th article in The Toronto Star, he quotes Paul Charles, Eurostar director of communications to admit that “More than 1,000 copies of The Da Vinci Code have been forgotten on Eurostar trains in the past 18 months, making it the most common item in the railway’s lost property offices.”
The history of the Order of the Knights Templar, Christian soldiers whose hidden treasure is at the center of the storyline of The Da Vinci Code, takes place in Paris at different points in the city, but the Parisian headquarters of the Templars was the Square du Temple. It was an authentic fortified city within the city, of which apart from the name, only the square and a covered market known as Carreau du Temple remain. The Square du Temple is situated just in front of the Mairie of the 3rd arrondissement and across from the Café La Pierre du Marais where Parler Paris Après Midi is held, just few blocks from my apartment and the vacation rental studio I am in the process of buying for investment.
The affects of the book and now the film are already being felt as jet-setters, set-jetters and the likes descend on European cities such as Rome, London, Edinburgh and, of course, mostly, Paris injecting millions into the economy.
I suppose I should tap into success of The Da Vinci Code, too. I had planned to decorate the apartment in a rich Provençal style, filled with color and light, but with the Knights Templar’s history just around the corner, perhaps it should be more of an armored and crusade motif?
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]
P.S. Welcome to the Paris Poetry Workshop participants! The workshop starts today, but don’t miss the public readings tonight at the Highlander Pub at 8 p.m., tomorrow night at Ivy at 7 p.m., Wednesday at Patricia Laplante Collins’ Paris Network at 6:30 p.m. and Thursday at Shakespeare & Co. at 7 p.m. Read the Parler Paris Previews Community Calendar for details —