Located within the Latin Quarter of Paris The Pantheon Paris was first intended for use as a church and was dedicated to St. Genevieve. The use of the building has varied over the years and it now known as much for being the final resting place of notable famous people as it is for being a place of worship.
The Pantheon Paris (meaning “Every God”) displays an eclectic mix of styles but is predominantly an example of early Neoclassicism, with an exterior that appears to emulate the Pantheon in Rome and a dome that emulates the style of Bramante’s “Tempietto”.
Architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot died before the construction of the Pantheon Paris was completed. His vision of a bright, transparent yet Gothic cathedral coupled with classic principals was never quite realised. But proudly overlooking the whole of Paris in the 5th arrondissement on the Montagne Sainte- Genevieve it is still a marvelous spectacle, and an unrivaled architectural accomplishment for its era. The Pantheon Paris is the original neoclassical monument.
The story surrounding the Pantheon paris is as unique and interesting as many others that relate to famous buildings. It was originally constructed following instruction by Lois XV to build a monument to give thanks to God for his recovery from illness The chosen site was that of the former Sainte-Genevieve church which had suffered considerable damage. Soufflot was given the task of designing and building the monument, but he ran into financial difficulties and was unable to continue with the build. Sadly, Soufflot passed away before he could resume building. Changes were made to the original design by his pupil who later finished the project on his behalf. The Gothic style mixed with classical design still remains obvious, and the building is still appreciated as a masterpiece and one of the greatest examples of neoclassical monuments still standing.
During the French Revolution the government decided to use The Pantheon (known then as the SAINTE- Genevieve Church) as a mausoleum, where Frenchmen who had made significant sacrifice or remarkable achievements for their country would be laid to rest. Over the years the use of the building changed frequently, but finally returned to being a burial place for such brilliant French citizens as it is today.
There are many reasons why the Pantheon is a must-see for visitors to Paris. Not only for the incredible architecture both inside and out that is visually incredible, but also for the remarkable views over almost the whole of Paris and of course to pay respect to the people buried there who did something amazing that in some way affected us all.
The Pantheon Crypt
Within The Pantheon there is a crypt in the subterranean chamber where a number of famous people are buried. Among them are French poets, scientists and writers many of whom will be familiar.
Here are some of the most recognisable names:
- Victor Hugo
- Emile Zola
- Jean Moulin
- Louis Braille
- Marie Curie
Voltaire and Hugo are probably the two best known famous French citizens in the Paris Pantheon’s crypt.