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The Panthéon
The Panthéon

The Panthéon is a building in the Latin Quarter in Paris, France. It was originally built as a church dedicated to Ste Genevieve, but after many vicissitudes now combines liturgical functions with its role as a famous burial place. It is an early example of Neoclassicism, with a façade modelled on the Pantheon in Rome, surmounted by a small dome that owes some of its character to Bramante's "Tempietto." Located in the Ve arrondissement on the top of Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the Panthéon looks out over all of Paris.



King Louis XV vowed in 1744 that if he recovered from an illness he would replace the ruined church of Sainte-Geneviève (see entry Genevieve) with an edifice worthy of the patron saint of Paris. The Marquis of Marigny was entrusted with the fulfillment of the vow after the king regained his health. Marigny's protégé Jacques-Germain Soufflot (1713-1780) was charged with the plans, and the construction of the Panthéon began.

Missing image
The area west of the Panthéon is quite busy at night.

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.

The foundations were laid in 1758, but due to financial difficulties, it was only completed after Soufflot's death by his pupil, Jean-Baptiste Rondelet, in 1789. As it was completed at the start of the French Revolution, the new Revolutionary government ordered it to be changed from a church to a mausoleum for the interment 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.

In 1851 physicist Léon Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the Earth by his experiment conducted in the Panthéon, by constructing a 67 metre Foucault pendulum beneath the central dome. The original iron sphere from the pendulum was returned to the Panthéon in 1995 from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers.

Missing image
Foucault Pendulum in the Panthéon

Burial place

The inscription above the entrance reads AUX GRANDS HOMMES  LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE ("For great men the grateful Nation").

Among those buried in its necropolis are Voltaire, Rousseau, Marat, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Marie Curie, René Descartes, Louis Braille and Soufflot, its architect.

On November 30, 2002, in an elaborate but solemn procession, six Republican Guards carried the coffin of Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), the author of The Three Musketeers, 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 internment 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 honoring of one of France's greatest authors.

Full list of buried people

Date of burial
in the Panthéon
Name Notes
1791 Honoré Mirabeau Removed in 1794
1791 Voltaire
1792 Nicolas-Joseph Beaurepaire Disappeared
1793 Louis Michel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau Assassinated deputy, removed from the Panthéon
1793 Augustin-Marie Picot, marquis de Dampierre Disappeared
1794 Jean-Paul Marat Removed from the Panthéon
1794 Jean-Jacques Rousseau
1806 Claude-Louis Petiet
1806 François Denis Tronchet
1807 Jean-Étienne-Marie Portalis
1807 Louis-Pierre-Pantaléon Resnier
1807 Louis-Joseph-Charles-Amable d'Albert, duc de Luynes Removed from the Panthéon
1807 Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Bévière
1808 Francois Barthélemy, comte Béguinot
1808 Pierre Jean George Cabanis
1808 Gabriel-Louis, marquis de Caulaincourt
1808 Jean-Frédéric, comte de Perrégaux
1808 Antoine-César de Choiseul, duc de Praslin
1808 Jean-Pierre-Firmin, comte Malher Urn with his heart
1809 Jean Baptiste Papin, comte de Saint-Christau
1809 Joseph-Marie, comte Vien
1809 Pierre Garnier, comte de Laboissière
1809 Jean Pierre, comte Sers Urn with his heart
1809 Jérôme-Louis-François-Joseph, comte de Durazzo Urn with his heart
1809 Justin-Bonaventure, comte Morard de Galles Urn with his heart
1809 Emmanuel Crétet, comte de Champnol
1810 Giovanni Baptista, cardinal Caprara
1810 Louis-Joseph-Vincent-Leblon, comte de Saint-Hilaire
1810 Jean-Baptiste, comte Treilhard
1810 Jean Lannes, duc de Montebello
1810 Charles-Pierre-Claret, comte de Fleurieu de La Tourette
1811 Louis Antoine de Bougainville
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, comte de Songis des Courbons
1811 Michel, comte Ordener
1812 Jean-Marie-François Lepaige, comte Dorsenne
1812 Jean Guillaume De Winter, comte de Huessen
1813 Hyacinthe-Hugues-Timoléon de Cossé, comte de Brissac
1813 Jean-Ignace Jacqueminot, comte de Ham
1813 Joseph Louis, comte Lagrange
1813 Jean, comte Rousseau
1813 François-Marie-Joseph-Justin, comte de Viry
1814 Jean-Nicolas, comte Démeunier
1814 Jean-Louis-Ebenezer, comte Reynier
1814 Claude-Ambroise Régnier, duc de Massa di Carrara
1815 Antoine-Jean-Marie, comte Thévenard
1815 Claude-Juste-Alexandre, comte Legrand
1829 Jacques-Germain Soufflot
1885 Victor Hugo
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 Jean-Baptiste Baudin 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 a part of his body is buried there
1894 Marie François Sadi Carnot Buried immediately after his assassination
1907 Marcellin Berthelot Mme Sophie Berthelot is buried with her husband
1908 Émile Zola
1920 Léon Gambetta Urn with his heart
1924 Jean Jaurès
1933 Paul Painlevé
1948 Paul Langevin
1948 Jean Perrin Buried the same day as Paul Langevin
1949 Félix Éboué First "colored" person in the Panthéon
1949 Victor Schoelcher His father Marc, is also in the Panthéon. Victor wanted to be buried with his father
1952 Louis Braille
1964 Jean Moulin His body is not in the Panthéon, it was never found
1987 René Cassin
1988 Jean Monnet Entered the Panthéon 100 years after 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
1995 Pierre Curie
1995 Maria Skłodowska-Curie 1st woman buried in the Panthéon for her works
1996 André Malraux
2002 Alexandre Dumas, père

See also

eo:Panthéon fr:Panthéon de Paris ja:パンテオン (パリ) pl:Panteon w Paryżu pt:Panteão de Paris fi:Panthéon (Pariisi) sv:Panthéon (Paris)


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