The Panthéon (Latin Pantheon, from Greek Pantheon, meaning "All the gods") is a building in the Latin Quarter in Paris, France. It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve, but after many changes 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 5th arrondissement on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the Panthéon looks out over all of Paris. Its architect, Jacques-Germain Soufflot, had the intention of combining the lightness and brightness of the gothic cathedral with classical principles. Soufflot died before his work was achieved, and his plans were not entirely followed. The transparency he had planned for his masterpiece was not attained. Nevertheless, it is one of the most important architectural achievements of its time and the first great neoclassical monument.
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 intellectuals of France.
In 1851, physicist Léon Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the Earth by his experiment conducted in the Panthéon, by constructing a 67 meter Foucault pendulum beneath the central dome. The original iron sphere from the pendulum was returned to the Panthéon in 1946 from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers.
In 2006, Ernesto Neto, a Brazilian artist, installed "Léviathan Thot", an anthropomorphic installation inspired by the biblical monster. The art installation was in the Pantheon from September 15, 2006, until October 31 for Paris' Autumn Festival.
In late 2006, a "cultural guerilla movement" calling itself Untergunther completed a year-long project where they covertly repaired the Panthéon's antique clockworks.
The inscription above the entrance reads AUX GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE ("To the great men the grateful homeland"). The absence of a verb in French emphasizes that the implicit notion of honour is given from the homeland to the great men. By burying its great men in the Pantheon, the Nation wants to acknowledge the honour it received from them. As such its entrance 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.
A 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.
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, 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 honoring of one of France's greatest authors.
In January 2007, President Jacques Chirac unveiled a plaque in the Pantheon to more than 2600 people recognized as "Righteous" 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 Pantheon 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 hate 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 incarnated the honour of France, and its values of justice, tolerance and humanity.
| Year of burial|
in the Panthéon
|1791||Honoré Mirabeau||Disinterred in 1794|
|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, marquis de Dampierre||Disappeared|
|1794||Jean-Paul Marat||Disinterred from the Panthéon|
|1794||Jean Jacques Rousseau|
|1807||Louis-Joseph-Charles-Amable d'Albert, duc de Luynes||Disinterred from the Panthéon|
|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||Jan Willem de Winter or in French 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|
|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||Pierre Galetto||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|
|1907||Marcellin Berthelot||Mme Sophie Berthelot is buried with her husband|
|1920||Léon Gambetta||Urn with his heart|
|1924||Jean Jaurès||Interred ten years after his assassination|
|1948||Jean Perrin||Buried 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|
|1952||Louis Braille||Body moved to the Panthéon on the centenary of his death|
|1964||Jean Moulin||Ashes transferred from Père Lachaise Cemetery on December 19, 1964|
|1987||René Cassin||Entered the Pantheon on the centenary of his birth|
|1988||Jean Monnet||Entered the Pantheon 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|
|1995||Pierre Curie||Both Pierre and Marie were enshrined in the crypt in April 1995.|
|1995||Marie Sklodowska-Curie||First woman to be buried in the Pantheon for her own contributions to science|
|1996||Andre Malraux||Ashes transferred from Verrières-le-Buisson (Essonne) Cemetery on 23 November 1996 on the twentieth anniversary of his death|
|2002||Alexandre Dumas, père||Reburied here 132 years after his death.|