Image: People standing before church obelisk
Chamussy  /  Sipa Press file
Visitors gather around an obelisk in the church of Saint Sulpice, which figures prominently in the novel.
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updated 5/8/2006 3:23:46 PM ET 2006-05-08T19:23:46

You've read the book and you're probably thinking of seeing the movie. So, why not combine a vacation in Europe with a personal visit to some of the real landmarks that figure so prominently in "The Da Vinci Code"?

A little time on the Web will lead you to guidebooks and companies that will take you on tours to some or all of the big scenes in the story, but with a little more time you could plan your own tour.

The story starts with a violent, perplexing death in the Louvre, which should be on your itinerary even if you're not following the book. Look for the word "English" in barely noticeable pale gray letters in the upper right corner of the Web site. Then use the search function to look for everything the museum Web site has on Da Vinci. If you want to try to follow the characters' paths, you'll need to click on "Visit" and then "Interactive Floor Plans" to learn the layout of the museum.

Another Paris landmark featured prominently in the plot is the church of Saint-Sulpice which may be best known for its pipe organ. Sorry, this Web site is only in French, which is frustrating because "Visite de l'eglise," which shows the layout of the church, also has a link to a church commentary on "The Da Vinci Code." However, a tribute to the church's organ, Eglise Saint-Sulpicehas a description and history of the church in English. Slideshow: A European tour

Find your way to these and other points of interest with the "Maps & Transport" section of the semi-official Paris Info site which also can help you find places to stay and to spend your euros on shopping. "Museums & Monuments" will help you find your way to the Louvre, but there's no entry there for Saint-Sulpice.

After Paris, the action shifts to London and the Temple Church whose oldest portion, the Round Church, really was built by the Knights Templar, whose history is important to the book's plot. Click on the image of the "Da Vinci" book for a brief commentary by the master of the temple.

Westminster Abbey is also used for a scene in the book. Along with visitors' information and history, you'll want to take time to enjoy "Panoramic Views" of the interior.

The city of London has helpful tips on places to stay, other sights to see while you're there, and even "London for Kids."

Everything comes to a head in Scotland at Rosslyn Chapel which was founded in 1446 and was intended to be part of a much larger but never finished chapel. Visitors need to read "Location" for directions and "Staying" for places to reserve a room. Video clips and striking panoramas are grouped under "video/media." You might want to look through "Links Pages" for tours and sources of information on the Templars, such as "Ancient Quest."

A Web site not included in that group of links is Rosslyn Templars which can educate you on the real background of the Templars and Freemasonry in Scotland.

Rosslyn is outside Edinburgh, and the official Visit Scotland site has links to information you'll need for visiting there and elsewhere around Scotland.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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