US bestseller a bonus for French tourism

23rd August 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 20 (AFP) - An American bestseller, much of it set in Paris, has given the French tourist industry an unexpected boost as readers flock to the places mentioned in it to see for themselves the paintings and buildings in the book.

PARIS, Aug 20 (AFP) - An American bestseller, much of it set in Paris, has given the French tourist industry an unexpected boost as readers flock to the places mentioned in it to see for themselves the paintings and buildings in the book.

Eight million copies of "The Da Vinci Code" by the American writer Dan Brown have been sold worldwide, six million in the United States.

At the heart of the novel - which has been taken by many its fans to have a core of religious and historical truth - is the hunt for the Holy Grail.

The book starts with the death of the curator of the Louvre Museum and includes codes, the works of Leonardo da Vinci, anagrams, an albino monk, the Roman Catholic Opus Dei group, the church of Saint Sulpice in Paris, a French chateau, Westminster Abbey and much, much else.

Although Parisians will be astonished by some of the topography and descriptions of the city, true fans are not deterred and travel agents have taken advantage to organise tours of key areas of the Louvre mentioned in the book for EUR 110 (USD 135) a head.

Ellen McBreen of Paris Muses has already dispatched some 300 aficionados of the novel, escorted by six guides, to the museum.

American tourists can buy a USD 2,299 (EUR 1810) eight-day guided tour following the breakneck itinerary of the book's hero Robert Langdon, which takes him from the Ritz hotel in Paris to London to Scotland in the space of a few hours.

The novel is based on the theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a family and descendants. A secret organisation called the Priory of Sion guarded the secret and various documents. Leonardo was one of the heads of this shadowy group, which went in for ritual sex, and clues can be found in the Mona Lisa.

A recent visitor to Saint Sulpice reported that the church has posted notices in French and English referring to the book without naming it, contradicting the interpretation put on some of the objects in the building.

© AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article