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21.8.04

Pissing off the Parisians

Heileen at La Muselivre recently "fulminated" against this story from Yahoo! France, which describes the fallout from Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code in Paris: guided tours through the Louvre for American tourists (110€ [$135.55] a pop).

On the theme of "Decoding the Da Vinci Code," Ellen McBreen of Paris Muse has already shown more than 300 visitors through the museum, under the direction of six guides. Others have organized, from the United States at a cost of $2,299, a package trip through Europe in the footsteps of Robert Langdon, one of the book's characters. Some people want to name a room in the Ritz in Paris after him, but the hotel has not responded.

Every day, Vincimaniacs exchange their opinions on the truth or fiction of the story. "Was there really a harrow in the Louvre's Grande Galerie?" (the answer is no). "Could the Madonna of the Rocks really be disemboweled by a knee kick?" (the answer is also no, because it's a wood panel and not a canvas).
I have so far managed to avoid reading what I have been told is a terrible insult to trees. A friend who lives in Paris, who recently described the book as facile, superficial, and error-ridden, says that the author's poor knowledge of the geography of the French capital is another drawback. Another friend has loaned me the book, but it has so far lay untouched in my office. As you know, I am interested in books about Paris (see the Paris Reading Project in the right column), but I can't see wasting any time on a bad book just because it has something to do with Paris, when there are so many good ones out there.

UPDATE:
See also Ingrid D. Rowland's article (Pop Esoterica!, August 16) for The New Republic (thanks to Arts & Letters Daily for the link).

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