Last updated
Pantheon, Paris 25 March 2012.jpg
General information
Type Mausoleum
Architectural style Neoclassicism
Location Paris, France
Construction started1758 AD
Completed1790 AD
Design and construction
Architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot
Jean-Baptiste Rondelet

The Panthéon (Latin : pantheon, from Greek πάνθειον (ἱερόν) '(temple) to all the gods' [1] ) is a building in the Latin Quarter in Paris, France. It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve and to house the reliquary châsse containing her relics but, after many changes, now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens. It is an early example of neo-classicism, with a façade modelled on the Pantheon in Rome, surmounted by a dome that owes some of its character to Bramante's Tempietto. Located in the 5th arrondissement on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the Panthéon looks out over all of Paris. Designer Jacques-Germain Soufflot had the intention of combining the lightness and brightness of the Gothic cathedral with classical principles, but its role as a mausoleum required the great Gothic windows to be blocked.

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.




The Pantheon at night Night Paris.jpg
The Panthéon at night
Interior Dome of the Pantheon Interieur du Pantheon.jpg
Interior Dome of the Panthéon
Pediment of the Pantheon with the motto: Aux grands hommes, la patrie reconnaissante ("To the great men, the grateful homeland") Pantheon de Paris - 03.jpg
Pediment of the Panthéon with the motto: Aux grands hommes, la patrie reconnaissante ("To the great men, the grateful homeland")

King Louis XV vowed in 1744 that if he recovered from his illness he would replace the ruined church of the Abbey of St Genevieve with an edifice worthy of the patron saint of Paris. He did recover, and entrusted Abel-François Poisson, marquis de Marigny with the fulfillment of his vow. In 1755, Marigny commissioned Jacques-Germain Soufflot to design the church, with construction beginning two years later. [2]

Louis XV of France Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre 1715–1774

Louis XV, known as Louis the Beloved, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1 September 1715 until his death in 1774. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. Until he reached maturity on 15 February 1723, the kingdom was ruled by Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, as Regent of France. Cardinal Fleury was his chief minister from 1726 until the Cardinal's death in 1743, at which time the young king took sole control of the kingdom.

Jacques-Germain Soufflot French architect

Jacques-Germain Soufflot was a French architect in the international circle that introduced neoclassicism. His most famous work is the Panthéon in Paris, built from 1755 onwards, originally as a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve.

The richly detailed Corinthian order Colonnes chapiteaux pantheon.jpg
The richly detailed Corinthian order
Voltaire's statue in the crypt of the Pantheon Voltaire's tomb.jpg
Voltaire's statue in the crypt of the Panthéon
The obverse of a French 5 Francs 1959 Banknote of the French National Bank (Banque de France) with a portrait of Victor Hugo right of the view of the Pantheon France 5 Francs 1959. VF- Banknote, Obverse.jpg
The obverse of a French 5 Francs 1959 Banknote of the French National Bank (Banque de France) with a portrait of Victor Hugo right of the view of the Panthéon

The overall design was that of a Greek cross with a massive portico of Corinthian columns. Its ambitious lines called for a vast building 110 metres long by 84 metres wide, and 83 metres high. No less vast was its crypt. Soufflot's masterstroke is concealed from casual view: the triple dome, each shell fitted within the others, permits a view through the oculus of the coffered inner dome of the second dome, frescoed by Antoine Gros with The Apotheosis of Saint Genevieve. The outermost dome is built of stone bound together with iron cramps and covered with lead sheathing, rather than of carpentry construction, as was the common French practice of the period. Concealed flying buttresses pass the massive weight of the triple construction outwards to the portico columns.

Portico Type of porch

A portico is a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls. This idea was widely used in ancient Greece and has influenced many cultures, including most Western cultures.

Corinthian order Latest of the three principal classical orders of ancient Greek and Roman architecture

The Corinthian order is the last developed of the three principal classical orders of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The other two are the Doric order which was the earliest, followed by the Ionic order. When classical architecture was revived during the Renaissance, two more orders were added to the canon, the Tuscan order and the Composite order. The Corinthian, with its offshoot the Composite, is the most ornate of the orders. This architectural style is characterized by slender fluted columns and elaborate capitals decorated with acanthus leaves and scrolls. There are many variations.

Crypt stone chamber or vault beneath the floor of a burial vault

A crypt is a stone chamber beneath the floor of a church or other building. It typically contains coffins, sarcophagi, or religious relics.

Looking upward underneath the central dome of the Pantheon. Dome, Pantheon, Paris, France.jpg
Looking upward underneath the central dome of the Panthéon.

The foundations were laid in 1758, but due to economic problems work proceeded slowly. In 1780, Soufflot died and was replaced by his student, Jean-Baptiste Rondelet. The re-modelled Abbey of St. Genevieve was finally completed in 1790, coinciding with the early stages of the French Revolution. Upon the death of the popular French orator and statesman Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau on 2 April 1791, the National Constituent Assembly, whose president had been Mirabeau, ordered that the building be changed from a church to a mausoleum for the interment of great Frenchmen, retaining Quatremère de Quincy to oversee the project. Mirabeau was the first person interred there, on 4 April 1791. [3] Jean Guillaume Moitte created a pediment sculptural group The Fatherland crowning the heroic and civic virtues that was replaced upon the Bourbon Restoration with one by David d'Angers. Twice since then it has reverted to being a church, only to become again a meeting house dedicated to the great intellectuals of France. The cross of the dome, which was retained in compromise, is again visible during the current major restoration project.

Jean-Baptiste Rondelet French architect

Jean-Baptiste Rondelet was an architectural theorist of the late Enlightenment era and chief architect of the church of Sainte-Geneviève after the death of Jacques Germain Soufflot of cancer in 1780.

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau French writer, orator and statesman

Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Count of Mirabeau was a leader of the early stages of the French Revolution. A noble, he was involved in numerous scandals before the start of the Revolution in 1789 that had left his reputation in ruins. Nonetheless, he rose to the top of the French political hierarchy in the years 1789–1791 and acquired the reputation of a voice of the people. A successful orator, he was the leader of the moderate position among revolutionaries by favoring a constitutional monarchy built on the model of Great Britain. When he died he was a great national hero, even though support for his moderate position was slipping away. The later discovery that he was in the pay of King Louis XVI and the Austrian enemies of France beginning in 1790 caused his posthumous disgrace. Historians are deeply split on whether he was a great leader who almost saved the nation from the Terror, a venal demagogue lacking political or moral values, or a traitor in the pay of the enemy.

Foucault pendulum

In 1851, physicist Léon Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the Earth by constructing a 67-metre (220 ft) Foucault pendulum beneath the central dome. The original sphere from the pendulum was temporarily displayed at the Panthéon in the 1990s (starting in 1995) during renovations at the Musée des Arts et Métiers. The original pendulum was later returned to the Musée des Arts et Métiers, and a copy is now displayed at the Panthéon. [4] It has been listed since 1920 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. [5] From 1906 to 1922 the Panthéon was the site of Auguste Rodin's famous sculpture The Thinker . In 2006, Ernesto Neto, a Brazilian artist, installed "Léviathan Thot", an anthropomorphic installation inspired by the biblical monster. The art installation was in the Panthéon from 15 September 2006 until 31 October for Paris's Autumn Festival.

Léon Foucault French physicist

Jean Bernard Léon Foucault was a French physicist best known for his demonstration of the Foucault pendulum, a device demonstrating the effect of the Earth's rotation. He also made an early measurement of the speed of light, discovered eddy currents, and is credited with naming the gyroscope.

Foucault pendulum simple device conceived as an experiment to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth

The Foucault pendulum or Foucault's pendulum is a simple device named after French physicist Léon Foucault and conceived as an experiment to demonstrate the Earth's rotation. The pendulum was introduced in 1851 and was the first experiment to give simple, direct evidence of the earth's rotation. Today, Foucault pendulums are popular displays in science museums and universities.

Musée des Arts et Métiers museum

The Musée des Arts et Métiers is an industrial design museum in Paris that houses the collection of the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers, which was founded in 1794 as a repository for the preservation of scientific instruments and inventions.

Recent years

In late 2006, a "cultural guerilla movement" calling itself The Untergunther (part of the larger organisation les UX) completed a year-long project by which they covertly repaired the Panthéon's antique clockworks. The Government tried (unsuccessfully) to sue the group for the intervention.

The UX is an underground organization that improves hidden corners of Paris. Their works have included restoring the Pantheon clock, building a cinema, complete with bar and restaurant, underneath the Trocadéro, restoring medieval crypts, and staging plays and readings in monuments after dark. The group's membership is largely secret, but its spokespeople include Lazar Kunstmann.

The administration stopped the clock from working by removing one of its parts. [6] [7] [8]

Burial place

Crypt Pantheon de Paris 2012-10-11 n7.jpg

By burying its great people in the Panthéon, the nation acknowledges the honour it received from them. As such, interment here is severely restricted and is allowed only by a parliamentary act for "National Heroes". Similar high honours exist in Les Invalides for historical military leaders such as Napoléon, Turenne and Vauban.

Among those buried in its necropolis are Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Louis Braille, Jean Jaurès and Soufflot, its architect. In 1907 Marcellin Berthelot was buried with his wife Mme Sophie Berthelot. Marie Curie was interred in 1995, the first woman interred on merit. Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz and Germaine Tillion, heroines of the French resistance, were interred in 2015. [9] Simone Veil was interred in 2018, and her husband Antoine Veil was interred alongside her so not to be separated. [10]

The widely repeated story that the remains of Voltaire were stolen by religious fanatics in 1814 and thrown into a garbage heap is false. Such rumours resulted in the coffin being opened in 1897, which confirmed that his remains were still present. [11]

On 30 November 2002, in an elaborate but solemn procession, six Republican Guards carried the coffin of Alexandre Dumas (1802–1870), the author of The Three Musketeers and other famous novels, to the Panthéon. Draped in a blue-velvet cloth inscribed with the Musketeers' motto: "Un pour tous, tous pour un" ("One for all, all for one,") the remains had been transported from their original interment site in the Cimetière de Villers-Cotterêts in Aisne, France. In his speech, President Jacques Chirac stated that an injustice was being corrected with the proper honouring of one of France's greatest authors.

In January 2007, President Jacques Chirac unveiled a plaque in the Panthéon to more than 2,600 people recognised as Righteous Among the Nations by the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel for saving the lives of Jews who would otherwise have been deported to concentration camps. The tribute in the Panthéon underlines the fact that around three quarters of the country's Jewish population survived the war, often thanks to ordinary people who provided help at the risk of their own life. This plaque says :

Sous la chape de haine et de nuit tombée sur la France dans les années d'occupation, des lumières, par milliers, refusèrent de s'éteindre. Nommés "Juste parmi les Nations" ou restés anonymes, des femmes et des hommes, de toutes origines et de toutes conditions, ont sauvé des juifs des persécutions antisémites et des camps d'extermination. Bravant les risques encourus, ils ont incarné l'honneur de la France, ses valeurs de justice, de tolérance et d'humanité.

Which can be translated as follows :

Under the cloak of hatred and darkness that spread over France during the years of [Nazi] occupation, thousands of lights refused to be extinguished. Named as "Righteous among the Nations" or remaining anonymous, women and men, of all backgrounds and social classes, saved Jews from anti-Semitic persecution and the extermination camps. Braving the risks involved, they embodied the honour of France, and its values of justice, tolerance and humanity.

List of people interred or commemorated

Inside panoramic view of the Pantheon Pantheon wider centered.jpg
Inside panoramic view of the Panthéon
Year of burial
in the Panthéon
1791 Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Comte de Mirabeau First person honoured with burial in the Panthéon, 4 April 1791. Disinterred on 25 November 1794 and buried in an anonymous grave. His remains are yet to be recovered. [12]
1791 Voltaire Tomb of Voltaire in the Pantheon.jpg
1792 Nicolas-Joseph Beaurepaire Disappeared
1793 Louis Michel le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau Assassinated deputy, disinterred from the Panthéon. His body was removed by his family on 14 February 1795.
1793 Augustin-Marie Picot Disappeared.
1794 Jean-Paul Marat Disinterred from the Panthéon.
1794 Jean-Jacques Rousseau JR pantheon.jpg
1806 François Denis Tronchet
1806 Claude Louis Petiet
1807 Jean-Étienne-Marie Portalis
1807 Louis-Pierre-Pantaléon Resnier
1807 Louis-Joseph-Charles-Amable d'Albert, duc de Luynes Disinterred from the Panthéon and returned to his family in 1862 at their request.
1807 Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Bévière
1808 Francois Barthélemy, comte Béguinot
1808 Pierre Jean George Cabanis
1808 Gabriel-Louis, marquis de Caulaincourt
1808 Jean-Frédéric Perregaux
1808Antoine-César de Choiseul, duc de Praslin
1808 Jean-Pierre Firmin Malher Urn with his heart.
1809Jean Baptiste Papin, comte de Saint-Christau
1809 Joseph-Marie Vien
1809 Pierre Garnier de Laboissière
1809Jean Pierre, comte SersUrn with his heart.
1809 Jérôme-Louis-François-Joseph, comte de Durazzo Urn with his heart.
1809 Justin Bonaventure Morard de Galles Urn with his heart.
1809 Emmanuel Crétet, comte de Champnol
1810 Giovanni Battista Caprara
1810 Louis-Vincent-Joseph Le Blond de Saint-Hilaire
1810 Jean Baptiste Treilhard
1810 Jean Lannes, duc de Montebello Tombeau de Lannes.jpg
1810 Charles Pierre Claret de Fleurieu
1811 Louis Antoine de Bougainville Tomb of Bougainville at the Pantheon.jpg
1811 Charles, cardinal Erskine of Kellie
1811 Alexandre-Antoine Hureau, baron de Sénarmont Urn with his heart
1811 Ippolito Antonio, cardinal Vicenti Mareri
1811 Nicolas-Marie Songis des Courbons
1811 Michel Ordener, First Count Ordener [13]
1812 Jean-Marie Dorsenne
1812 Jan Willem de Winter or in French Jean Guillaume De Winter, comte de HuessenBody only; his heart is sepulchred in his birthplace Kampen, Overijssel.
1813 Hyacinthe-Hugues-Timoléon de Cossé, Comte de Brissac
1813 Jean-Ignace Jacqueminot, Comte de Ham
1813 Joseph Louis Lagrange Lagrange's tomb at the Pantheon.jpg
1813 Jean, Comte Rousseau
1813 François-Marie-Joseph-Justin, Comte de Viry
1814 Jean-Nicolas Démeunier
1814 Jean Reynier
1814 Claude-Ambroise Régnier, duc de Massa di Carrara
1815 Antoine-Jean-Marie Thévenard
1815 Claude Juste Alexandre Legrand
1829 Jacques-Germain Soufflot
1885 Victor Hugo Tombeau de Victor Hugo au Pantheon, Paris, France.jpg
1889 Lazare Carnot Buried at the time of the centennial celebration of the French Revolution.
1889 Théophile-Malo Corret de la Tour d'Auvergne Buried at the time of the centennial celebration of the French Revolution.
1889 François Séverin Marceau-Desgraviers Buried at the time of the centennial celebration of the French Revolution Only his ashes are buried there.
1894 Marie François Sadi Carnot Buried immediately after his assassination.
1907Sophie BerthelotBuried with her husband: Marcellin Berthelot.
1907 Marcellin Berthelot Buried with his wife: Sophie Berthelot, the first woman buried here.
1908 Émile Zola
1920 Léon Gambetta Urn with his heart
1924 Jean Jaurès Interred ten years after his assassination.
1933 Paul Painlevé
1948 Paul Langevin
1948 Jean Perrin Nobel Prize WinnerBuried the same day as Paul Langevin.
1949 Victor Schoelcher His father Marc is also in the Panthéon. Victor wanted to be buried with his father.
1949 Félix Éboué Buried the same day as Victor Schoelcher.
1952 Louis Braille
Braille memorial.jpg
Body moved to the Panthéon on the centenary of his death.
1964 Jean Moulin Ashes transferred from Père Lachaise Cemetery on 19 December 1964.
1967 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Commemorated with an inscription in November 1967, as his body was never found.
1987 René Cassin Nobel Prize WinnerEntered the Panthéon on the centenary of his birth.
1988 Jean Monnet Entered the Panthéon on the centenary of his birth.
1989 Abbé Baptiste-Henri Grégoire Buried at the time of the bicentennial celebration of the French Revolution.
1989 Gaspard Monge Buried at the time of the bicentennial celebration of the French Revolution.
1989 Marquis de Condorcet Buried at the time of the bicentennial celebration of the French Revolution. The coffin is in fact empty, his remains having been lost.
1995 Pierre Curie Nobel Prize Winner
Both Pierre Curie and his wife Marie Skłodowska-Curie were enshrined in the crypt in April 1995.
1995 Marie Curie Nobel Prize Winner
Pierre & Marie Curie.jpg
Second woman to be buried in the Panthéon, but the first honoured for her own merits, her contributions to science. Her full name was Marie Skłodowska-Curie.
1996 André Malraux Ashes transferred from Verrières-le-Buisson (Essonne) Cemetery on 23 November 1996 on the 20th anniversary of his death.
1998 Toussaint Louverture Commemorative plaque installed on same day as Louis Delgrès
1998 Louis Delgrès Commemorative plaque installed on same day as Toussaint Louverture
2002 Alexandre Dumas, père Reburied here 132 years after his death.
2011 Aimé Césaire Commemorative plaque installed 6 April 2011; Césaire is buried in Martinique. [14]
2015 Jean Zay
2015 Pierre Brossolette
2015 Germaine Tillion Symbolic interment. The coffin of Germaine Tillion at the Panthéon does not contain her remains but soil from her gravesite, because her family did not want the body itself moved. [15]
2015 Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz Symbolic interment. The coffin of Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz at the Panthéon does not contain her remains but soil from her gravesite, because her family did not want the body itself moved. [15]
2018 Simone Veil Originally buried at Montparnasse Cemetery following her death in 2017. [16] [17]
2018 Antoine Veil Husband of Simone Veil, originally buried at Montparnasse Cemetery following his death in 2013. [16] [17]

See also

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  2. "Patroness of Paris: Rituals of Devotion in Early Modern France". Brills Publishers. 1998.
  3. Comte de Mirabeau had been elected President of the National Constituent Assembly on 29 January 1791. Upon his death, the Assembly decreed that the church of St. Genevieve should be [translation] "destined to receive the ashes of great men," and that "Honore Riqueti-Mirabeau is adjudged worthy to receive that honour." Mirabeau (Antonina Vallentin; trans. by E.W. Dickes). New York: The Viking Press, 1948. pp. 496-97, 522.
  4. "Foucault's Pendulum: Interesting Thing of the Day". 2004-11-08. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  5. Mérimée PA00088420 , Ministère français de la Culture. (in French) Ancienne église Sainte-Geneviève, devenue Le Panthéon
  6. Jon Lackman (2012-01-20). "The New French Hacker-Artist Underground". Wired.
  7. King, Emilie Boyer (2007-11-26). "Undercover restorers fix Paris landmark's clock". Guardian Unlimited . Guardian Media Group.
  8. Sage, Adam (2007-09-29). "Underground 'terrorists' with a mission to save city's neglected heritage". The Times . Times Newspapers Ltd.
  9. Angelique Chrisafis (1970-01-01). "France president Francois Hollande adds resistance heroines to Panthéon | World news". The Guardian . Retrieved 2015-05-30.
  10. Willsher, Kim (2018-06-30). "France pays tribute to Simone Veil with hero's burial in the Panthéon". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  11. Voltaire (1976-01-01). Candide. ISBN   9781105311604.
  12. Doyle, William (2002). The Oxford History of the French Revolution. UK: Oxford University Press. p. 283. ISBN   978-0-19-925298-5.
  13. (French) Charles Mullié "Michel Ordener." Biographie des célébrités militaires des armées de terre et de mer de 1789 à 1850, Paris, 1852.
  14. France Guide (2011). "Aimé Césaire joins Voltaire and Rousseau at the Panthéon in Paris". French Government Tourist Office. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
  15. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2017-01-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. 1 2
  17. 1 2 Katz, Brigit. "France's Simone Veil Will Become the Fifth Woman Buried in the Panthéon" . Retrieved 7 July 2017.

Coordinates: 48°50′46″N2°20′45″E / 48.84611°N 2.34583°E / 48.84611; 2.34583