Experience the 'The Da Vinci Code' tour in the Louvre

Posted at 12/12/12 4:00 AM

PARIS, France - Tourists from all over the world have been flocking to Paris Muse's "Cracking the Da Vinci Code" tour of the Louvre.

I was graciously welcomed by Paris Muse director Inge Laino to experience their tour during my visit to Paris. Join me and get a glimpse of my adventure in the Louvre.

The book

"What is history but a fable agreed upon?" This is a quote that Dan Brown, the famous bestselling author, quoted from Napoleon in his book, "The Da Vinci Code".

"The Da Vinci Code" is a mystery detective novel that became a pop culture phenomenon when it was released in 2003. Its controversial topics that questioned popular history, Da Vinci's works, secret societies and religion made it very popular to a wide audience around the world.

Its success even paved the way for a hit film directed by Ron Howard starring Tom Hanks.

"The Da Vinci Code" was was the fifth grossing movie of 2006. A third film titled "The Lost Symbol" is to rumored to be released in 2013-2014.

The tour

Details in the "The Da Vinci Code" book have become very popular to fans, with many traveling around the world just to investigate them.

As a result, Paris Muse (www.parismuse.com) came out with a special tour that dug deep into the mysteries in the Louvre that inspired Dan Brown's story.

The Louvre

The tour started at Arc du Carrousel, which was at the Louvre complex. Our beautiful muse and tour director, Laino, met me and my family under the magnificent arc that Napoleon created.

Laino explained that the Louvre was a central point of reference in the Da Vinci Code.

"Many Dan Brown fans would trace the steps of Robert Langdon's adventures that started and ended in the Louvre ... In the Louvre, you will find both the alpha and the omega or the beginning and the end of the Da Vinci Code story," he said.

Brian Tanchanco, Sonny Tanchanco, Inge Laino, JP Tanchanco and John Gaddi

We walked past the museum entrance and found a Paris meridian or Rose Line. The Paris meridians that were traced by Arago were predominant in the film, as these were used by protagonist Robert Langdon to locate the Holy Grail in the story.  

Paris Meridian

Then, we entered the Louvre museum through the iconic pyramid designed by I.M. Pei.

"We are here to investigate about several points that Dan Brown raised in his book...the Priori du Scion's Sacred Feminine or Goddess Worship that Dan Brown claims to have been lost because of modern day Christianity... We are also here to trace evidence of cultural recycling within the museum's collection of magnificent art and antiquities about religion and history... And lastly to look closely into the controversial issue that Dan Brown raised about Mary Magdalene," Laino said.

JP Tanchanco and Paris Muse's Inge Laino

We started in the Sully Wing of the museum, which used to be part of the Renaissance Palace and is the oldest part of the Louvre that's above ground.

Sully Wing

Laino guided us through a collection of objects that people used for worship and prayer pre-dating Christianity. We were able to see numerous rooms of antiquities depicting very strong proof of Divine Feminine or Mother Goddess worship from even 500 to 90 BC.

Among the magnificent pieces we saw were sculptures of Aphrodite, Astarte, Demeter, Hecate, the famous Venus de Milo, and many others.

Divine Feminine: Aphrodite, Astarte, Hecate, Demeter and Venus De Milo

"The collection shows proof of Dan Brown's claim that there was very strong Goddess worship that pre-dates Christianity... In the story, the secret society named Priory of Scion championed the long lost Sacred Feminine," Laino explained.

The Priory of Scion was the secret society featured in "The Da Vinci Code", and had prominent leaders such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Sir Isaac Newton.

Cultural recycling

After the Sully Wing, we were led to a different part of the museum where we found traces of cultural recycling or transmogrification. I was amazed to find several artifacts that show many of the Christian rituals and imagery that we know today.

One of them is a sculpture of the Roman empress Messaline and her child that looked exactly like the Christian Madonna and Child.

The 'The Da Vinci Code' tour in the Louvre

I also saw an antiquity by the Mithraic Cult. Mithra was an ancient Zoroaster sun god who was said to be born on December 25 to a virgin mother. He died and after three days, he rose again. Other similar ancient gods were Horus, Krishna and Dionysus. Experts claimed that the stories of these gods served as an inspiration in creating a religious concept that the modern world knows as Jesus Christ.

"Back then, only the winners could write history to what suited them. Dan Brown and other experts have given us an alternate opinion of history . Some would call it the losers' version compared to what was promoted by the historical leaders of the world or the winners of wars, so it is up to you to decide about what you want to believe," Laino said.

The 'The Da Vinci Code' tour in the Louvre

There was a Roman Pagan Sarcophagus that dates ahead of the Christian dominion showing Christian symbolisms of a shepherd carrying sheep. The antiquity evidently shows Christian cultural recycling from the Pagan religion.

The evidence of cultural recycling was also supported by an early Christian Sarcophagus with an exact replica of the illustration in an earlier Pagan Roman Sarcophagus. The only difference was the Christian symbol of the fish and the anchor.

Nike staircase, grand gallery

Laino guided also us towards the popular staircase where the film was shot.

"The actual film was shot in this staircase. Above the staircase is Nike, the Angel of Victory. The [film] producers had to pay the Louvre $1.5 million just to shoot here," Laino explained.

Then we headed to the grand gallery that was also a location for the film. It houses many of Leonardo's best works.

Grand Gallery and Mona Lisa

"All the artwork in this gallery were removed during the actual film shoot and replaced with copies," added Laino.

One of the works we saw was the famous "Mona Lisa" of Da Vinci.

Mary Magdalene

Laino also guided us through several art pieces that show Mary Magdalene's importance in Jesus' life. Mary Magdalene was a crucial point in the "The Da Vinci Code" as it was later revealed that the man known as Jesus Christ was married to her and had children.

The most interesting of the pieces I saw was the naked sculpture of Mary Magdalene that looked like the ancient Goddess Venus de Milo.

The Mary Magdalene Statue by Albert Durer 

Another interesting art piece was a painting that showed that Mary Magdalene was the only person who was directly looking at Jesus while he was crucified.

Le Portement de Croix

Inverted Pyramid

The tour ended as we walked towards the famous inverted pyramid designed by I.M. Pei.

"This is the omega part of our tour," Laino said.

Inverted Pyramid

So, next time you're in Paris, try the one and only "Cracking the Da Vinci Code" tour of Paris Muse.

For more information and bookings, visit http://www.parismuse.com or email [email protected].

The views in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.