Saturday, June 03, 2006

Search For The DaVinci Code Grail - Part 3: London and Back

In Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, Robert Langdon tracks the Holy Grail from Paris to London. On our trip in 2003, we followed the same route. Read Part 1 and Part 2 before continuing. All links are to my Flickr pictures from the trip.

Day 5

DSC00976We did not have any connections to take us to London from Paris in a private jet, so we did the next best thing, we booked seats on the Eurostar Chunnel train that connects Paris’s Gar De Nord station to London’s Waterloo terminal. Boarding the train is more like an airport than a train station. The Eurostars had their own section complete with baggage screening and customs. The first class seats were very comfortable and included meal service. If we had known that we wouldn’t have bought the awful pastries at the train station.

Once in London, we found the weather completely dreadful. It was only a few degrees above freezing and drizzling miserably. So we did the only logical thing to do and booked an open air tourbus ride. The tour did include flimsy ponchos which helped slightly. The tourbus hit all the highlights of the area including Parliament, the Tower (not London) Bridge, the London Tower (which is really more of a fort or prison), Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and St James Square.

As we passed Westminster Cathedral, I remembered why were there, to hunt for the grail. But the weather was too miserable to stop and search the inside of the grand looking church, so we returned to Picadilly Square. We wandered around lost a little, and found ourselves in a small Chinatown area. There was even the legendary Lee Ho Fook's, but we didn’t see any werewolves with or without Chinese menus in their hands. And from the rain our hair was less than perfect.

We did get some fish and chips and buy some British editions of the Harry Potter books, but we went back to Paris late that afternoon no closer to the grail than we started.

Day 6

DSC00987Back in Paris, we knew we were just spinning our wheels without some assistance from somebody more familiar with the area. We knew that Audrey Tautou, code name Amelie, knew something about the grail. To find her we went searching for her in Montmartre. Since she was often seen leaving clues around the Sacre Couer, we started there. This shiny white church on the top of the hill is the second most photogenic monument in Paris.

DSC00993From the top of the hill we wandered our way down the narrow streets to the bottom, stopping to look at one of the few remaining windmills from the hedonistic days of the Moulin Rouge. This being a family trip we did not stop to take in the naughty show within, but instead moved on to our last hope.

Montmarte also has some of the few remaining great wrought iron Metropolitan subway entrances. Since then I have been running into replicas everywhere, and someday I'll post a collection of pictures of those.

If anyplace would reveal any phantoms, it would be the Paris Opera House. Alas, while we saw Chagall’s wonderfully out of place ceiling, we knew our search for the grail was just getting colder.

Day 7

DSC01019Our time in Paris was over and we didn't get dragged into any ancient conspiracies that would overturn the fundamental tenents of a major world religion. It did whet our appetitite for the more of Paris and the rest of France. The next time we go, we will go in a more temperate time of year. And we won't bring any surly teenagers with us. We did trek down to the front of the Eiffel Tower for one more picture in front of this icon.

Paris is a beautiful city full of great sights and wonderful people. You don't need a tacky badly written conspiracy thriller to inspire a visit. Just go and enjoy.

Blatant Comment Whoring™: What place have you read about that you would like to visit?


Anonymous said...

I can see i'm going to be busy on your flikR site this morning as I cruise through all the photos from your trip! I've always wanted to see London, all of it!

Here via Michele.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A great Parisian tour.

Michele sent me here.

BTW, I can no longer get into my Flickr since this account merging with Yahoo.

Mitey Mite said...

I've spent one day in London, several days in Paris. Maybe it helped that my first time in Paris was in April (it's true what they say), but I love that city. The last time I was there, I was reading The DaVinci Code. That felt weird.

Here via Michele this morning.

Unknown said...

I used to live just north of London and went to Paris a lot. It's a gorgeous city, with so much to see and do, but the french....oh the french! I always feel like I should throw away all my clothes and start over when I'm in Paris. People in the south of France, where we vacationed, are SO much nicer. Next time you go, visit Nice and Cannes and Montpelier. Very nice folks and lots to do.

The weather in London sucks in the winter. I lived there through 3 winters and 3 bouts of pneumonia. I'm not sturdy English stock, evidentally!

I'd LOVE to visit India. All of India. I've wated to go there for years and years but it's hard enough to afford, and to get there takes forever. But I'll go someday, probaby on an old lady tour when I'm 80.

Here from Michele

Elizabeth said...

I'd love to visit Australia. But my sister-in-law is from there and said where she lived(near Adelaide)there were spiders as big as her hand!! Ick, I couldn't deal with that. Maybe if I just stuck to the non-spidery part of Australia!

Mooselet said...

Liz, there is no non-spidery part of Australia! But honestly, you don't see them all the time.

I'd love to go to the British Isles, especially London. To see all the burial sites of the various kings and queens, the Tower, the Westminster... I'd be in heaven! I'd have to stay a week at least.

Star said...

I love the way you recount your trip as though you are shadowing Dan Brown's itinerary for the holy grail. I have been to France, but not Paris.Michele sent me.

... Paige said...

Hey, here by way of Michele's today. Great trip, love the photos!

utenzi said...

Michele sent me, Yellowjkt. I've not been by in quite some time and I love the way your blog looks now.

I also like that picture of Mooselet up there. Hi cutie!

Your last paragraph of your post is so true, Yellojkt. Paris is such a wonderful city--and Brown is such a hack. Some good ideas in that book, it's unfortunate that it's not worth the trouble to dig them out of the dreck. I did finish the book, but it hurt!

Catherine said...

The non-spidery part of Australia is called New Zealand :) No snakes here, either. Where would I like to visit that I've read about? Just about everywhere. But especially Scotland, at the moment, because I've been researching my family history. From there I could make a side trip to Paris - great photos.
Michelle sent me

Impetua said...

Scotland, Ireland, England. That's my next big vay-kay. Not for years since I'd like the baby to be big enough to remember it...

Beyond that, I'd like to go to India and China. And Peru. Oh, everywhere. Just get me a one way ticket around the world...

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Love the Zevon reference!