petite anglaise

February 11, 2005

holy grail

Filed under: city of light — petiteanglaiseparis @ 3:37 pm

I think it’s time for a change of subject as my google contextual ads seem to have become fixated on dating websites:, (which I hope ‘comes’ from the Latin for ‘with’ and does not have any other implications) and even an ad for a site I didn’t click on which seemed to be offering to import Russian sirens. I derive no income from these ads whatsoever (27k page views with 8 clickthroughs = an astounding $ 1.85), but I do find the topic-matching mildly amusing.

Yesterday lunchtime I went to pay my respects to Mary Magdalene (aka The Holy Grail) in the underground Carroussel du Louvre shopping centre, as told in the gospel according to Dan Brown. I found it disconcerting, to say the least, that Jesus Christ’s spouse’s final resting place is located not 50 metres from Virgin records (which, incidentally, was my real destination, as I’m desperatedly seeking a protective sheath for my ipod).

The French Ministry of Culture – only to happy to cash in on the success of the bestseller – have agreed to authorise location filming in the Grande Galérie of the Louvre for the screen adaptation of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ to star Tom (last time I thought he was good, he was in ‘Splash’ and I was too young to know any better) Hanks as Harvard “symbologist” Robert Langdon, Audrey Tautou (Amélie Poulain) as Sophie Neveu and Jean Reno (Léon) as policeman Bezu Fache. I only hope Tautou is being paid an indecent amount of money if the script decrees that she must tongue Tom. The Catholic church, understandably less keen on Mr Brown’s work, have not given their permission for the Sainte Sulpice church to be used in filming.

“Da Vinci Code”, as it is called in French, (why not ‘Le Code Da Vinci’? Wake up immortels!) sold over 800,000 copies in France last year. The most pleasing description I came across of the book in a French magazine was: “Le Club des Cinq en Terre Sainte.”

Paris tour guides have found The Da Vinci Code a lucrative proposition: fans of the book seem to have an insatiable need to link the fiction to reality by making pilgrimages to the historic sites mentioned in the book. Da Vinci Code tourism is now big business in the City of Lights and is likely to go from strength to strength when the film version is released.

Paris Muse‘s ‘Cracking the Code’ , for example, is basically a tour of the Louvre retracing Langdon’s footsteps in the company of “your own personal symbologist”, taking in the works of Da Vinci, paintings featuring Magdalene and goddess imagery in general. This “half day hunt for the truth” will set you back a mere € 110.

I think I’ll stick to the Famous Five. Anyone know where Kirrin Island is?


  1. On the subject of your iPod sheath – have you thought of an ‘iPod sock’ (from Apple themselves)? They are little woolen pouches which your music player goes in and they are pretty cool (come in lots of diferent colours!) and protective.

    e and my ‘Mr. Frog’ (well, English boy brought up in France) love your weblog, btw.

    Comment by Riotstar — February 11, 2005 @ 3:58 pm

  2. Also spelled “Kirrin Island”, it’s been taken over by the Germans, apparently.

    Don’t tell Timmy.

    Comment by Ria — February 11, 2005 @ 4:18 pm

  3. Damn. Langdon was fairly sexy in the books. Why’d they have to pick Hanks?

    Comment by Helen Hamultun — February 11, 2005 @ 4:29 pm

  4. Heh – the last time I was in Paris I went on a tour of the Da Vinci Code places (guided par moi, of course – I’m not paying € 100 for a tour of places I’ve already been).

    There were loads of American tourists in the Louvre (aren’t there always), almost all of whom had a copy of the book in their hands! The looks they got from the staff were quite something…

    Comment by dafyd — February 11, 2005 @ 9:28 pm

  5. I used to like Tom Hanks when he was in the American TV series ‘Bosom Buddies’- utterly silly series, but fun to see our Tom in drag every week, before he was famous of course.
    I reckon he bought the rights up, since you never see it dragged out so that we could all have a laugh. A pity, since he actually seemed to have a sense of humour in those days, before he had it surgically removed and got into making shedloads of money.

    Comment by Ruth — February 11, 2005 @ 10:16 pm

  6. I could spend a great deal of time discussing the Dan Brown book – more precisely why I REFUSE to read the Dan Brown book. When will it end? Will it ever end? Could someone please make it end?

    Did I mention I have no interest in reading THAT book?

    Comment by Michele — February 12, 2005 @ 9:03 am

  7. It would be “Le code de Vinci” in French, don’t you think ?
    The book is a page-turner, but the characters are so shallow !

    Plus, there are a few really big mistakes (the streets of Paris smell of jasmin, do you believe it ?!)…

    Comment by Jenny — February 12, 2005 @ 11:49 am

  8. I can’t remember how, but I began reading a different Dan Brown book and I had to stop within about 10 pages as it made me squirm with embarrassment. I’m normally a trash-fiction slag, but it was SO badly written I just couldn’t carry on with it. So, I presume the Da Vinci Code is going to be similar and therefore beyond me. Back to the good old Mortdecai Trilogy again…

    Also, it’s really annoying when looking for things about Rennes (the delightful and massively underrated Breton capital!) on the web, you instead get zillions of results from spotty conspiracy theorists about “Rennes-le-Chateau”. Is it time for my medicine?

    Comment by Jim in Rennes — February 12, 2005 @ 3:41 pm

  9. I’d always understood that Kirrin Island was based on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour. After a bit of Googling, some sites seem to agree, though the Dorset Tourist Board reckons Brownsea was the basis for Whispering Island in “Five Have a Mystery to Solve” (not sure what the Club des Cinq title is). Kirrin Castle is apparently based on Corfe Castle.

    What I want to know is why Timmy is a big hairy mutt in the English version while Dagobert is a dachsund?

    Comment by Rob — February 13, 2005 @ 4:29 am

  10. Those google advertisements can be a nosey bunch of parkers. A lady friend of mine, who I have had a habit of asking out on a number of occasions, sends me emails every now and again with an exorbitant amount of xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx’s. The contextual advertisements that are included with gmail decided that love was evidently in the air, and offered me valentines cards and wedding dresses.


    Comment by David Deans — February 13, 2005 @ 4:28 pm

  11. Great post Petite – good to know that the Parisians are exploiting the Da Vinci code phenomenon. I can only think that if Dan Brown’s “true history” was correct (as so many people I speak to seem to regard it) and the church asserted control over the site there would still be a Virgin megastore there.

    I read a fantastic post a while ago on this topic, essentially explaining why Leonardo was a lunatic. It’s a fun read and no, I’m not trying to plug my own blog :cool:

    Comment by BHR — February 14, 2005 @ 1:15 am

  12. This book should be put in the Vatican’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the Holy Inquisition should be re-instaured and the author should be burned “sur la place publique” alongside anyone who indulges into its reading. They want 17th century thrills? Let’s give them the real thing. It would be historical and it will be educational for the kids. He he he…

    Comment by Gamera — February 14, 2005 @ 11:37 am

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