The Da Vinci Code Tour

Spend 5 days sightseeing in Paris, where you can visit The Louvre art gallery and see Mona’s infamous smile for yourself. Then hop on a glass-topped sightseeing boat across the River Seine to the church of Saint Sulpice, a famous feature in Dan Brown’s novel.

Next, travel south to spend a week in Languedoc-Roussillon for plenty of chances to hit brilliant beaches and enjoy warmer temperatures. If you’ve got an appetite for history, don’t miss the region's gothic cathedrals or a visit to Carcassonne, an incredible medieval walled city.

Tour Itinerary

Stay 1: 5 days

We recommend: La Croix du Vieux Pont

This parc is a real family favourite! Packed full of activities, it's a 90 minute drive from the centre of Paris, and only 19km from Soissons where you can hop on the train to Paris Gare du Nord. The parc also runs an occasional coach service into Paris (and Disneyland Resort Paris) according to demand. We’ve put together our top spots in the French capital we reckon you should try, and get your Da Vinci hunt off to a great start…

Planning your Louvre visit

The Louvre, the world’s biggest art gallery and home to over 60,000 works of art, can't be missed. We'd suggest getting there early or planning an evening visit to avoid the crowds, and checking out the most famous pieces (including Da Vinci's Mona Lisa) at either at the beginning or end of the day.

Apart from the legendary smiling lady, you can also visit La Grande Galerie; featured in the book as the spot where Jacques Saunière dies after leaving a trail of clues for his granddaughter Sophie to follow. Other notable works include Da Vinci’s Virgin on the Rocks and a series by Caravaggio, one of which Saunière uses to trigger the Louvre's alarms.

Whilst at the gallery take a look at the impressive Pyramid in the centre of the Cour Napoléon. Don't forget its smaller but (for Da Vinci code breakers) far more significant companion, the Pyramide Inversée (upside-down pyramid). The pyramid's point, if you follow Robert Langdon's train of thought, is the final resting place of Mary Magdalene: the real Holy Grail.

South of the Seine

On leaving the Louvre, travel south across the Seine to the church of Saint Sulpice in the city's St Germain quarter, where Sister Sandrine meets her fate in the novel.

If you believe Dan Brown, the church stands on the site of an ancient temple to the Egyptian goddess Isis. Although this is difficult to prove, what is certain is that the Rose Line (the original Meridian line before Greenwich) runs through this church.

Look out for the window with the letters 'P' and 'S', which Brown claims stand for Priory of Sion, but which the church maintains stand for their patron saints, Peter and Sulpice.

A truly Parisian afternoon

Take a break from your code breaking and head back north across the Seine to the Paris Ritz, where Robert Langdon receives the urgent call to come down to the Louvre in the middle of the night. Although a night's stay here may break the bank, stopping for tea or a drink at the bar won't, and will provide a sophisticated place to reflect on the clues you’ve uncovered so far.

Whilst in the city centre, why not visit the Bois de Boulogne, made famous for all the wrong reasons by Langdon’s night-time car chase. In reality, this large park is one of the city’s greenest areas, with woods, lakes, riding schools, floral displays and cycling routes. If code breaking in the city is tiring you out, it's a great place to retreat for some quiet time.

Beyond the City

Not all of the Parisian sites mentioned in the Da Vinci code lie in the city centre and it's well worth making a trip to see the less urban locations featured.

Château Villette, the home of duplicitous Leigh Teabing, is just a short drive from the city centre and is a beautiful, private residence with its own chapel, lake and water gardens. The dedicated Da Vinci code breaker can even take a guided tour of the rooms featured in the book.

For those looking to investigate the Merovingian kings and their supposedly holy bloodline, the Basilica of St Denis in the northern outskirts of Paris is definitely worth checking out. For 1,200 years all of the kings of France were buried here; from the reign of St Dagobert, the last great king of the Merovingian dynasty and founder of the Basilica, up until the reign of Louis XVIII. The Basilica is widely considered to be the birthplace of Gothic style of European architecture, and today visitors can take a tour of the cathedral, its tomb and the crypt – a magical way to round off your code-breaking journey in Paris.

Stay 2: 7 days

We recommend: Club Farret, Cala Gogo,or Les Sablons

The Languedoc region is deeply entwined in the mystery of the Holy Grail, and you’ll soon see why. Often known as the Land of the Cathars or the Land of The Templars, there are impressive châteaux, medieval castles, cathedrals, and abbeys aplenty for you to explore.

Start your stay with a tour of the impressive Rennes-Le-Château, a mysterious land structure set high on a hilltop above the Aude Valley. See if you can unravel the mystery of Rennes-Le-Château with a visit to the church, tower (the Tour Magdala), museum, Sauniere's Domain and the Grand Villa Bethania.

Also visit Montsegur Castle, possibly the most incredible Cathar Castle, which stands today atop an impressive 1,000 foot crag. This castle provided refuge for over 200 Cathars in 1244 during the Albigensian Crusade, until they descended and met with a horrible end on a burning pyre. There is continuing speculation that a large amount of treasure is buried here, so be sure to share the wealth if you find any!

No visit to the Languedoc is complete without a visit to the impressive city of Carcassonne, an incredible medieval walled city. Visit the beautiful Basilique St-Nazaire, a stronghold of the French Cathars during the 13th century. Get set to marvel at its outstanding 14th and 15th century stained glass, including two beautiful rose windows. Readers of the book 'Labyrinth' by Kate Mosse will recognise this impressive structure, built by the Trencavel family, a legendary name in these parts. Were the Trencavel family a crucial part of the protecting the Holy Grail?

Finally, Collioure is a real gem on the Roussillon Coast. A lovely village and charming port on the Mediterranean Sea, Collioure that has been a magnet for artists since the early 1900s and is home to the Château Royal built by the Knights Templar in the 13th century.