For the last few years the Pantheon here in Paris has been undergoing restorations. The dome has been covered up for quite some time and the Foucault Pendulum had been moved back to the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris during interior restorations. We have visited this beautiful monument a number of times but this time, all was open to the public and there was no scaffholding hiding this stunning monument.
Originally in the place of the current Pantheon stood the Abbey of Sainte Geneviève, founded in 502 by King Clovis I, where Sainte Geneviève came to pray and was later buried there at her death in 512. In 1744, Louis XV vowed to replace the ruined Abbey of Sainte Geneviève if he recovered from his serious illness. He did recover, believed he was cured by invoking the Saint, and Jacques-Germain Soufflot was commissioned to design the new Church.
In 1851 physicist Léon Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the earth by a 67 metre pendulum beneath the central dome. This was the first public of a Foucault pendulum. It’s absolutely fascinating to watch but I am unable to explain how it works as I’m still scratching my head over it!
‘Aux Grands Hommes La Patrie Reconnaissante’ (To Great Men, The Grateful Homeland). Among those buried here are Voltaire (writer, historian and philosopher), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (philosopher and writer), Victor Hugo (writer, in particular Les Misérables & The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Jean Moulin (member of the Resistance during World War II), Louis Braille (inventor of the Braille system for the visually impaired), Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz & Germaine Tillion (female members of the Resistance, interred in 2015).
The Panoramic tour has re-started since April and we couldn’t wait to get a new view over Paris. The guided tours begin on the balcony inside the Pantheon, giving a whole new perspective on the magnificent interior. The rest of the tour continues outside at different levels. The views are stunning.
Panoramic visits in the Pantheon run at certain times until October. Please see the website for more information on times and prices.