updated 05/15/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/15/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT
In the Book: A grisly murder in the famed Paris museum's Grand Gallery launches Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) and cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) on a breakneck quest for the Holy Grail.
DaVinci Effect: Since Brown's book was published in '03, attendance at the Louvre has climbed, but officials won't comment on the book or sell Da Vinci-related merchandise. Still, some guides are cashing in. "I've taken well over a thousand people on Da Vinci Code tours," says Elizabeth Barton of Paris Muse tours. "It's a really nice and accessible way to see the Louvre."
Church of St. Sulpice
In the Book: Evil monk Silas (Paul Bettany) scours this 18th-century Paris church for a key to the Grail's location—and murders a nun.
Da Vinci Effect: Throngs of tourists now come to see the church's "rose line" (a meridian set in its floor) and an obelisk mentioned in the book. "They get in front of the altar to take pictures during Mass," complains guide Michel Rougé. In response Rougé has hung this notice: "Numerous facts in a certain bestselling novel are false." Too bad it keeps getting stolen by fans.
In the Book: Robert and Sophie seek help from a Grail expert at this mansion outside Paris. Da Vinci Effect: "We don't have a villain owner and a killer butler," says expat American Olivia Decker, who runs Villette as a luxury hotel. "Overwhelmed" by crowds, she no longer gives tours. But guests may meet regulars like Lenny Kravitz.
The novel's climax takes place in this 15th-century church in rural Scotland. Da Vinci Effect: Rosslyn boasted 117,000 visitors last year, up from 38,000 in '03. On a lark, local Pam Crawford decided to sell Da Vinci Code manure, courtesy of her horse Calypso, to visitors. "I've sold 40 bags," she says. "I never thought it would be so popular."
In the Book: Isaac Newton's Westminster tomb provides a crucial clue. (After officials refused to allow filming there, producers used England's Lincoln Cathedral, left, as a stand-in.)
Da Vinci Effect: The London tourist spot is a magnet for fans. "People come because of the book," says a spokesman. Hottest item at the gift shop? A postcard of Newton's tomb.
DA VINCI CODE
BY THE NUMBERS
Copies of the book sold: 40 million
Movie budget: $125 million
Da Vinci Code souvenirs on sale at the Louvre: 0
Cost of a five-night stay at Chateau Villette: $4,500
Cost of a bag of Da Vinci Code Manure in Roslin, Scotland: 92 cents