Before Dante’s Inferno, the new Robert Langdon film, there was the Da Vinci Code and the city of Paris. I am a big fan of Dan Brown and have read all his books, some more than once. As such, I agree with the sentiments of book lovers that the book version is always better than film.
One reason is that books give a lot of leeway for imagination for readers to fill the gaps. Contrary to books, movies provide everything from the narrative to the visuals.
Dan Brown has written several books, but he is only one of a lot of authors I admire. Others sharing the same genre that I like includes James Rollins and Steve Berry. After reading hundreds of books in the last decade, the Da Vinci Code still ranks high up there. It belongs to a rare breed of novels that provide a fascinating and mesmerizing experience as I read.
The fact that I have never been to Europe, and had never thought so much about it, added to the mystique. It is as if Dan Brown took me on a journey to the unknown mystical places rich with history. He describes the scenes and locations that filled my mind with an illusion of grandeur. But here is where the film version beats the book, the visuals of the best destinations in the city of Paris.
Exploring the City of Paris is impossible with limited time. A tourist who goes from one place to another can cover a lot of ground. But having snapshots taken is not the same as taking the time to learn the history and admire the details.
Paris Destinations and Activities
So, on this post, I am picking destinations or activities in three parts. First, I will begin with locations inspired by the Da Vinci Code. And then I will pick from the top tourist destinations in Paris. Finally, I will tell you the one thing that would I look forward to in Paris.
Places to Explore Inspired by the Da Vinci Code
1. Musée du Louvre
Never underestimate the size of the Louvre Museum. How could anyone cover over 70 thousand square meters of exhibited areas in one day or even one week? It’s one thing to have photos taken outside by the Louvre Pyramid, but the real treasures are inside.
The Louvre is where Silas murdered the curator Jacques Saunière. Robert Langdon makes his appearance at the request of Police captain Bezu Fache to decode a cryptic message. And that brings me to the first piece I would like to see, if possible, the Mona Lisa.
This is when I appreciated the movie because unlike in the novel, it’s hard to visualize a painting as Robert Langdon points out clues. From the Mona Lisa, he and another character Sophie Neveu next looked at the Madonna of the Rocks.
While much of the world has seen the photo of the Louvre Pyramid, there is another one under the large pyramid. The La Pyramide Inversée (the Inverted Pyramid) is where Robert Langdon found the Holy Grail. If you have not read the book or watched the film, all I can say is that the Holy Grail is not a cup.
2. Church of Saint-Sulpice
Saint-Sulpice is the second largest church in Paris, after the Notre Dame de Paris. According to Robert Langdon, the Rose Line runs through it. And this is where the Da Vinci Code, indeed, is a fiction. As it turns out, the Rose Line is a fictional name given to the Paris meridian.
The meridian line running through the church has nothing to do with the Prime meridian. It’s actually the one that’s intended to determine the winter solstice and Easter.
3. Palais Royal
I am not sure what to make of the Palais Royal, so I had to check. As it turns out, this is where the Council of State, Constitutional Council and the Ministry of Culture are. But there’s more as this is where Robert Langdon continued to follow the Rose Line to the Holy Grail.
This is the second time I mentioned the Rose Line. To be clear, the Rose Line refers to the Paris meridian. In 1994, more than 130 bronze medallions were set into the ground along the Paris meridian. So, what’s there to see at the Palais Royal? It’s my understanding that one of the medallions is set here.
Intriguing Places in Paris
Outside of the top destinations, there are two places where I’d like to spend time when in Paris. Since childhood, I have seen the Eiffel Tower in postcards, books, and all over the web today. But that is not an attraction for me. A couple of places that I find intriguing are where I could see dead and living people.
1. Jardin des Tuileries
The Tuileries Garden is near the Louvre Museum, and a great place to sit after visiting the museum. I think this is a good place to walk around while learning more about its rich history that dates back to 1564. But more than walking, I like sitting down and watching people walk pass by. It’s not that I am being creepy, but more like I am fascinated with people from different cultures.
2. Catacombs of Paris
Like I said, I am not being creepy watching living people walk pass by. I’d say someone with malicious intent makes it creepy, so there, I am far from it. But when it comes to creepy, is there a place in Paris that could be creepier than the Catacombs?
This underground ossuary holds the remains of six million people. And to think, the Catacomb of Paris is only a small part of the Mines of Paris.
In some ways, I find it disdaining that the solution to the problem of overflowing cemeteries in Paris has become a tourist destination. Topside cemeteries get visited due to the architecture or celebrities buried there. As for the Catacombs, the remains here are as old as two centuries, so I am pretty sure my imagination will run wild with the thoughts of the past.
The One Activity I Love in Paris
I think Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. In a sense, Paris might as well be the ‘list’ capital of the world. By list, I am referring to how there are so many blogs putting up ‘best of’ or ‘the top’ type posts.
Hotels, fashion, food, wine, and so many other things make Paris a city everyone loves. And love is what Paris is famous for, which is why it’s known worldwide as the city of love.
What do I love?
It’s unlikely I could ever write everything there is to love but there’s one that I could think of, in fact, it’s the first thing I think of Paris. I read somewhere that there are some 9,000 cafes in the city. I am not sure if it is accurate, but I love cafes with outdoor tables and chairs.
For the same reason that I like the Tuileries Garden, sitting outdoor makes it easier for me to observe people. In fact, it offers me a better chance of meeting new people.
Some people may want to spend time shopping, while others may want to pass out drinking too much in bars. As for me, I can visualize myself reading the Da Vinci Code book or blogging in one of the many cafes in Paris.
Getting Around in Paris and Following the Da Vinci Code
I am not particular when it comes to hotels so as long as it is at least 3 to 4 stars. As for food, I could eat anywhere and I do love to try local dishes. But one thing I am particular with when visiting a foreign city is transportation.
For everything that is beautiful in Paris, the city also has its problems, and traffic is one of them. But the good thing is that the city has excellent public transport system. For that reason, my preferred method of transportation is always the metro.
I have never been comfortable taking buses. So, I think I am skipping buses and if it’s not the metro, there are other choices. There are a lot of taxi stands all over the city, and if that doesn’t work, there’s Uber.
For short distances, it’s fun walking, and I do love walking. There’s also the Velib bikes that one can rent and return to any station within the city.
So, whatever you wish to do in the city, shop, or follow the path of the Da Vinci Code, there are choices.
Oh, there’s another thing I am particular with. Coming from abroad in one of the three international airports, it can be confusing to find a ride. But that is a thing of the past because there is a service everyone could use that is hassle free.
T2Transfer offers drop and pick-up services to Charles de Gaulle Airport, Beauvais Airport, and Orly Airport. Furthermore, they also have transfer services to Eurodisney Land.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.