Pantheon

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Pantheon
Place du Panthéon, 5e
Paris, France
Voice: 01-44-32-18-00

Hours:

Daily 10am-6pm (last entrance 45 min. before closing)

In 1744, King Louis XV vowed that if he recovered from a mysterious illness he would replace the ruined Abbey of Sainte-Geneviève with an edifice worthy of the patron saint of Paris.

The king regained his health, and the Marquis of Marigny was entrusted with the fulfillment of the vow. Marigny's protégé Jacques-Germain Soufflot (1713-1780) was charged with the plans, and the construction of the Panthéon began.

The foundations were laid in 1758, but due to financial difficulties, it was not completed until after Soufflot's death, 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 once again become 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 the 67-meter Foucault's pendulum beneath the central dome. The original iron sphere from the pendulum was returned to the Panthéon in 1995 from the Conservatoire.

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.



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