Chateau Vilette is used in Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, as the setting for Langdon and Neveu’s first meeting together with Sir Leigh Teabing.
Chapter 52 begins:
“The sprawling 185-acre estate of Chateau Vilette was located twenty-five minutes northwest of Paris in the environs of Versailles. Designed by Francois Mansart in 1668 for the Count of Aufflay, it was one of Paris’s most significant historical chateaux. Complete with two rectangular lakes and gardens designed by Le Notre, Chateau Vilette was more of a modest castle than a mansion. The estate had fondly become known as la Petite Versailles.”
Dan Brown describes the Depository Bank of Zurich as a twenty four hour Geldschrank bank at 24 Rue Haxo in Paris, offering the full modern array of anonymous services in the tradition of the Swiss numbered account. Maintaining offices in Kuala Lumpur, New York and Paris, the bank had expanded its services in recent years to offer anonymous computer source code escrow services and faceless digitized backup.
The Depository Bank of Zurich is a fictional construction, based loosely on the kinds of services offered by Swiss banks. The bank is said to be “adjacent to the Roland Garros tennis stadium,” which is in the park’s southern section. The real-life rue Haxo is on the eastern edge of Paris near the Cimetière du Pére-Lachaise.
Randomhouse, Dan Brown’s publisher, has established a web site dedicated to the fictional bank: www.depositorybankofzurich.com, complete with a message from the Bank President, Andre Vernet:
The Paris Branch of the Zurich Depository Corp services customers from all over the world. Our discreet staff is accessible around the clock to attend to all of your anonymous depository and banking needs. No matter what asset you have on deposit with us, your trust is our greatest treasure.
The site was put together for a quest promoting the book in 2004. Visitors to the site are invited to log in. You can access Marie Denarnaud’s account by entering her name: “Marie Denarnaud”. When asked to enter Marie’s account number, you can click on the link that reads, “”Forget your account number?”. The code comes from chapter 44 in The Da Vinci Code – the Fibonacci sequence:
Dan Brown refers to the Bois de Boulogne as the Garden of Earthly Delights in The Da Vinci Code, chapter 37. Langdon and Neveu drive through the Paris green belt at night, seeing the popular recreational area transformed into the city’s red light district.
‘The Parisian cognoscenti knew it as ‘the Garden of Earthly Delights’. The epithet, despite sounding flattering, was quite to the contrary. Anyone who had seen the lurid Bosch painting of the same name understood the jab; the painting, like the forest, was dark and twisted, a purgatory for freaks and fetishists.’
The Hieronumus Bosch painting referred to by Brown is the middle piece of a triptych. The left painting depicts life in the Garden of Eden. The right painting depicts the horrors of hell. The middle painting portrays the ambiguities of a life in which pleasure is sought beyond all else.
The tryptich is housed in the Prado Museum in Madrid.