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St Sulpice
Bookmark: St Sulpice
Bookmark: Gare Saint-Lazare
Bookmark: Château Villette

Da Vinci Code: Paris part two

Thursday, March 17, 2005

As our journey continues we are now heading to the famous Church of St Sulpice in Paris before we head off to the Chateau Villette.

Church of St Sulpice

Silas the Monk is sent to St Sulpice on a wild goosechase by Curator Sauniere.

The Church took 134 years to build, starting in 1646. The length of time involved meant that the interior is in Jesuit style but its façade, designed by Italian Servandoni, is classical.

Its interior is 121 metres long, 57 metres wide and 30 metres high with fresco festooned walls, many painted by Delacroix. Its two holy water vessels, which are giant seashells, were a gift from the Republic of Venice. A metal strip known as The Rose Line marks the original zero-longitude line used to calculate world time. It passed through Paris before being moved to Greenwich in England. Plenty to see in this magnificent place of worship, but its most loved attractions are undoubtedly its organ – Europe’s largest – and choir.

Gare Saint-Lazare

The couple leave the church in their Smart car, but police presence forces them to abandon the car at Gare Saint-Lazare, where they board a train to Lille. The station was built in the late 1880s for travellers to Paris's Universal Expo in 1889 and its architecture is very grand. The Eiffel Tower was built for the same event.

Bois De Boulogne

The furtive journey's next destination is the Bois de Boulogne, 865 hectares of woods on Paris's western edge, created by Baron Haussman in the late 19th century under Napoléon, who greatly admired London's Hyde and Regents Parks.

The second park, Bois de Vincennes, is on the eastern side of Paris. Bois de Boulogne is the more fashionable of the two, favoured by walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Roland Garros tennis courts are at its edge, Auteuil and Longchamp horse courses and the pretty Bagatelle gardens all add to a welcome oasis on the city's edge.

The couple's next stop was the Depository Bank of Zürich at 24 rue Haxo. The author has used poetic licence here and while there is such a street, there is no 24 and no bank.

Château Villette

Château Villette is the home of Grail expert, Sir Leigh Teabing. Château Villette, just 30 minutes from Paris, close to the Chateau de Versailles, was built on 97 hectares in the Morvan Hills of western Burgundy in 1668 for the Count of Aufflay. Its parkland and setting are said to be early examples of the work of André le Notre, renowned for his designs at Chantilly and Versailles.

Its 17 exceptional guest rooms and large suite have exquisite linens and fabrics and all have bathrooms. It has been furnished in keeping with its period and guests delight in fine collectibles, antique furniture, tapestries and works of art.

Breakfast and dinner — comprised of local specialties — are served in a grand dining room. Food is prepared in a 16th-century kitchen (with modern amenities of course) and can certainly be called Burgundian haute cuisine. Meals are served by candlelight and accompanied by carefully selected French wines.

The château has a pool and tennis court, there are golf courses within easy reach, far too many wonderful vineyards to visit and Lyon, France's gastronomy capital, is temptingly close.

Next destination, London.

Location

Paris, France

Cost

Church of St Sulpice entry is free. It is open every day from 8am to 8pm.

Chatéau Villette Da Vinci Code two-hour tours cost between $60 and $160 per person, depending on the number of people in the group. The Chatéau can be rented for around $10,830 a day or around $70,000 a week.

Five-night packages which bring Dan Brown's book to life start at $6580 per person. They include deluxe accommodation and services at the Château, breakfast each day and a welcome and farewell dinner. Tours include a visit to the Denon Wing at the Louvre, including the Grand Gallery and Mona Lisa. You will have lunch at Hotel Ritz and visit St Sulpice Church. You then tour Champs-Elysses and Bois de Boulogne. Also included are visits to restaurants and shops in Paris.

An optional tour, at extra cost, of Versailles, Monet's Giverny garden, Normandy, Loire Valley chateaux, Chartres, Chantilly, Fountainebleau and Vaux le Vicomte is available.

Globus has a 14-day Secrets of Da Vinci tour leaving Rome on July 3, 2005. It includes some meals, twin-share accommodation, transport and tours for $3999 per person. Its itinerary takes in Rome, Milan, the Lake Geneva area, Geneva, Paris, London and finishing in Edinburgh. Tours can be booked through Flight Centre.

British Airways flies daily to Europe.

Flight Centre has return economy airfares to Rome, Paris and London starting at $1646 per person, plus taxes.
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

More information

Church of St Sulpice
Place St Sulpice
75006 Paris France

Chateau de Villette
58170 Poil, Nièvre
Ph: (0)3 86 30 09 13
www.frenchvacation.com

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