The Panthéon was originally a church, transformed by the Revolution into a mausoleum for people like Voltaire and Zola. This was back in the days when your fans and loved ones would pour into the streets upon your death, write lines from your books on banners and wave them around, and carry your coffin to your swanky burial place like the Panthéon. Alternatively, you'd get dug up years after your death and relocated from your original cemetery to get a 5-star room at the Panthéon
The most spectacular aspect is the size of the Pantheon. On the ground floor, in the form of a cross, it has a length of 110m and a breadth of 85m. The dome with its height of 85m inspired the physicist Leon Foucault to carry out his first experiments with the pendulum in the middle of the 19th century. He wanted to demonstrated the rotation of the earth on its axis.
While Louis XV was taking care of his health, he promised that if he recovered, he would build a church to replace the half-ruined Abbey of St. Genevieve. However, due to the lack of funds, the project did not begin until 1755. And the architect Soufflot designed a building based on the Classical prototypes. This being a dome with a Latin cross which is fronted by a Greek temple facade. During the construction, Soufflet passed away and the church which is known today as the Pantheon, was finally completed in 1789 - the year of the French Revolution. This is a spectacular product of classical design surmounted by a huge dome.
This church was built to be a vast mausoleum to "receive the bodies of great men who died in the period of French liberty". The windows were closed, thus enforcing the solemnity of the interior. The building alternated between being a church and mausoleum throughout the last century. In 1985, following the collapse of stone work in the vaults, it has had to be closed for an indefinite period. Yet, you can still visit the crypt.
This imposing building looks (and feels) like a church, but it isn't quite. Completed in 1790, it's a mausoleum for several famous Frenchmen, plus one woman - Marie Curie. Possibly the oddest feature is the large swinging pedulum - which apparently is proof that the Earth actually does spin on it's axis...
Unless you have a museum pass (in which case there's no extra charge), entrance is 7 euros, and it's open from 10am to 7pm daily.
The Pantheon, the large building with its colombs making it look like the Partenon on the Akropolis in Athens is today the place where the french bury their great men, "Aux grands hommes de la Republique". Apart from being a great man you'll also have to work for the good of the republique to rest there and also you'll have to approve of being put to rest there before dieing.
Men like Rousseau, Voltaire and Victor Hugo all have their last rest here along with many men including some heroes of the resistance during WWII.
The Pantheon is also where you'll find the Focault pendulum. It was the experimient Focualt made to prove that the earth is turning. It consists basically of a pendulum above a round piece of wood where the hours have been marked. As the time goes the pendulum swings over the corresponding hour. Or in other words, the Pantheon, you and I and the world is turning around the pendulum.
If you want to go up to the round tower it is possible (I don't know if you have to follow a guide really) and there are guided tours in both french and english regadring the structure itself, its history and what's in it.
The entrance fee was 7 Euros I think (July 2004).
While Louis XV was taking care of his health, he promised that if he recovered, he would build a church to replace the half-ruined Abbey of St. Genevieve. Situated on the Montagne St-Genevieve, it had a commanding view of the city. The foundations were laid in 1758, but due to financial difficulties, it was completed in 1789. Revolutionaly government changed its mission from a church to a mausoleum for the remains of great Frenchmen.
This is finall resting place for:
Louis Braille - he invented the system of raised dots to enable blind people to read. Cell 25
Marie and Pierre Curie - great scientists. Cell 8
Victor Hugo - writer. Crypt XXIV
Emile Zola - writer. Crypt XXIV
Alexandre Dumas, Sr - writer. Crypt XXIV
Voltaire - philosopher
Jean-Jacques Rousseau - musician and philosopher.
In 1764, the first stone was laid of this church dedicated to Sainte Genevieve by King Louis XV. It was completed in 1790, the same year all monastic orders were abolished by the new government. It then became a "Temple to the Nation" and Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Honore Mirabeau were buried here. It became a church a couple of times during the 19th century, but was turned into a mortuary for French heroes in 1885, when Victor Hugo was buried here.
It is an imposing structure with Corinthian columns in the front - modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. Marie Curie and Emile Zola are also buried here. The inside is beautiful, but not really worth the price of admission. Worth it if you have a museum pass.
temple de la nation!
Centre des monuments nationeaux.
In the year 1791, the Revolution transformed the church designed by Soufflot at Louis XV's request and consecrated to Sainte Genevi?ve, and established the French PANTH?ON here.
It was used successively for religious and civil purposes until 1885, when the ashes of the writer / poet VICTOR HUGO were brought here, definitely dedicating it to the Republican creed.
Imagine: 77 great men lie buried here.
The PANTH?ON is a superb example of architecture built along classical lines and a real pleasure to visit.
Have a good look at the photograph and see that splendour!
OPEN: daily 10AM - 6PM
Closed: 1st Januari, 1st May, 11th November and 25th December.
If desired a guided tour is possible!
Foucault used the high ceiling of the Pantheon to publicly display his experiment that proved the rotation of the earth.
This is not the original pendulum, apparently that can be seen at the Musee National des Techniques in Paris.
We didn't hear too many encouraging things about the Pantheon, but we found it very interesting! There is a strange old science experiment in the middle, I can't remember exactly what it was about, something about proving the Earth's rotation, but it was interesting. Also, the crypt was really great, we thought, with many people we recognized.
Le Panthéon is a place where the greatest people of the country are burried. This tradition exists not only in France but in many other countries as well. For example, it exists in Georgia, in Tbilisi.
Parisian Panthéon is a beautiful building with a nice looking dome. Above the entrance there is a text : "Aux grands hommes la Patrie reconnaissante", which means "Grateful Motherland to its great people".
The celebrities are burried in the crypt. You can see graves of Voltaire, Didrot and many other great peple there. But beware that it's very cold there, I was freesing and not because of the cadavres :)
Inside the Panthéon there is it's little model.
Louis XV vowed in 1744 that if he recovered from an illness he would replace the ruined church of St. Genèvieve Abbey with an edifice to the glory of the patron saint of Paris: St. Genèvieve. The Marquis of Marigny was entrusted with the fulfillment of the vow after the king regained his health. The protégé of Marigny--Soufflot--was charged with the plans. Thus began the construction of the Panthéon. Situated on the Montagne St. Genèvieve, it had a commanding view of the city. The overall design was that of a Greek cross with a massive portico of Corinthian columns. Its ambitious lines called for a vast buidling 110m long by 84m wide, and 83m high. No less vast was its crypt.
The foundations were laid in 1758, but due to financial difficulties, it was only completed after Soufflot's death (1780) by his student, Rondelet, in 1789. No sooner completed, than the Revolutionaly government changed its mission from that of a church to that of a mausoleum for the remains of great Frenchmen. Twice since then it has reverted to being a church, only to become again a temple to the great men of France. Among those buried in its necropolis are Voltaire, Rousseau, Mirabeau, Marat, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, and Soufflot, its architect. The remains of Jean Moulin - hero of the French Resistence during the Second World War - were moved here by Charles de Gaulle. We were lucky enough to visit at a time when there weren't a lot of tourists in the building. It was eerily empty, which gave us the opportunity to view the whole building at our own pace. I honestly believe that the Pantheon is the most beautiful building that I have ever seen. I highly recommend going here. Photos are allowed and the crypt is included in your entrance fee.
Beneath the Pantheon, originally intended for the monks of St. Genevieve, are the crypts of many famous French men and women.
Among those buried here are the authors Victor Hugo and Emile Zola, scientists Marie and Pierre Curie, Louis Braille and Soufflot it's architect.
At the end of the hallway, there's a large room with 2 televisions showing footage of the funerals of the people buried here.