News24 reports that Ron Howard has started filming the big screen adaptation of the popular novel, The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks, Jean Reno, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina and Paul Bettany.

The Columbia-Sony studio behind the production has refused French media access to the locations.

Several books in France and in the US have highlighted inconsistencies and challenged the author's claim that every description in his book was based on fact.

Filming began late on Wednesday at the Ritz hotel in central Paris, according to Le Parisien newspaper.

It was to continue all night on Thursday at the nearby famous Louvre, where the Mona Lisa is kept, for the novel's opening scene in which the museum's fatally wounded director leaves a cryptic message for Langdon.

Hanks, Howard and their team will also be taking the camera to Britain for several location shoots, although officials there have refused to make Westminster Abbey available to recreate an important scene because the book's premise was considered theologically unsound.

While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci -- clues visible for all to see -- yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion -- an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others.

In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who seems to anticipate their every move. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory's ancient secret -- and an explosive historical truth -- will be lost forever.