Conveniently situated within the Latin Quarter of Paris, close to many of our Paris holiday apartments, the Pantheon is a sight which is certainly not to be missed whilst visiting this truly wonderful city. Boasting beautiful views over the city, the Pantheon is brimming with breath-taking architecture and is where many of France’s well-known icons are buried. Attracting visitors from all over the world, the Pantheon stands proudly at the top of the Montagne Sainte Geneviève in the 5th arrondissement of Paris and is an attraction definitely worthy of a visit.
Commissioned by King Louis XV, this remarkable building was designed to replace the existing Church of Sainte-Geneviève which originally stood in its place and to represent the King’s gratitude for his recovery from ill health. Construction began under the supervision of the architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot in 1757 and was finally completed in 1791 by Soufflot’s successor Guillaume Rondelet. Not long after its completion, the Pantheon was converted from a church into a temple by order of the Constituent Assembly of the Revolution.
The façade of this huge mausoleum, which was built using marble and stone, was modelled upon the famous Pantheon in Rome – a temple which was built in the first century AD as a place for worshipping the city’s ancient Gods. Behind the iconic columns of the façade is an enormous dome which stands at 83 metres tall and is likened to Bramante’s Tempietto. The Pantheon measures an incredible 110 metres long and 85 metres wide and is designed in the shape of a Greek cross. The structure is regarded as an early example of Neoclassicism and features a striking collection of fine architecture.
The Pantheon’s interior is also as stunning as its exterior and is bursting with fascinating statues, amazing paintings and fabulous mosaics. Rows of Corinthian columns rise up from the tiled floors, supporting the beautifully decorated ceilings, whilst the magnificent dome boasts three superimposed shells which are a sight not to be missed. It is also here that you will find the building’s renowned crypt, which spans the entire surface area. The crypt is the final resting place of many of France’s notable figures, such as writers, poets and scientists including Voltaire, Louis Braille and Marie Curie.
As well as being one of the city’s must see attractions, the Pantheon is a fantastic place to sample some spectacular views out over the city of Paris, which can be marvelled at from the outside of the building’s dome and are accessible free of charge as part of a guided tour. The Pantheon is also well-known as the place where the astronomer Jean Bernard Léon Foucault conducted one of his very first experiments in 1851 to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth. Foucault suspended an enormous brass pendulum from the Pantheon’s dome for the public to view, which has since been relocated to Paris’ Musee des Arts et Métiers.
Further information, including opening times and ticket prices can be found on the Pantheon’s website – www.pantheonparis.com