Discover the Fascinating History of Paris’ Panthéon

Place du Panthéon

Paris is known for its beautiful architecture, rich history, and cultural significance. Among the many iconic buildings in Paris, the Panthéon stands out as one of the most historically and architecturally significant. Originally built as a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve, the Panthéon has served a number of different functions over the centuries, from a mausoleum to a secular temple of the nation. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history and architecture of the Panthéon and explore why it is a must-see destination for anyone interested in Parisian history and culture.

The Early History of the Panthéon

The Panthéon was originally built in the 18th century as a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. The church was commissioned by Louis XV in 1755, and construction was overseen by the architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot. Soufflot was a leading figure in the neoclassical architecture movement, and he designed the Panthéon to be a monumental and impressive building that would reflect the power and grandeur of the French monarchy.

Construction of the Panthéon took nearly twenty years, and the building was finally completed in 1790, just as the French Revolution was getting underway. The Revolution would have a profound impact on the history of the Panthéon, and the building’s role in French society would change dramatically over the next few decades.

During the early years of the Revolution, the Panthéon was used as a church, but in 1791, the National Assembly voted to convert the building into a secular temple. The Panthéon was renamed the Temple of Reason, and it became a symbol of the revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity.

interior of the panthéon, paris
The never-ending sway of the Pendule de Foucault, a symbolic representation of the Earth’s rotation inside the majestic Panthéon

The building was used to host a variety of events, including lectures, concerts, and political rallies. The French revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre was even buried in the Panthéon in 1794, alongside other prominent revolutionaries.

However, the Panthéon’s role as a secular temple would be short-lived. In 1806, under the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte, the building was once again converted, this time into a mausoleum for famous French figures. The Panthéon would serve as a final resting place for some of France’s most illustrious citizens, including Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Émile Zola.

Pantheon Paris
A glimpse of the Panthéon’s storied past, from its origins as a church to its role as a mausoleum honoring France’s national heroes


The Panthéon is an architectural masterpiece, with a design that is both grand and harmonious. The building is constructed in the neoclassical style, with a façade that features a portico of Corinthian columns and a large dome.

The dome of the Panthéon is particularly impressive, and it is one of the largest in the world. The dome measures 83 meters high, with a diameter of 27 meters. The dome is supported by four massive pillars, each of which is adorned with statues of important French figures, including Charlemagne and Saint Louis.

The interior of the Panthéon is equally impressive, with a vast, open space that is designed to inspire awe and contemplation. The walls of the building are lined with statues and murals that celebrate the achievements of French culture and history.

detail of the pantheon, paris
The magnificent Corinthian columns of the Panthéon standing tall and proud, a symbol of the enduring legacy of classical architecture in the heart of Paris

Visiting the Panthéon

Today, the Panthéon is open to visitors, and it is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The building is still used as a mausoleum, and visitors can pay their respects to the famous French figures buried there. In addition, the building also serves as a venue for cultural events and exhibitions.

One of the most popular attractions at the Panthéon is the Foucault pendulum, which hangs from the center of the dome. The pendulum is used to demonstrate the rotation of the earth and is a testament to the scientific and intellectual achievements celebrated in the building.

Visitors to the Panthéon can also take a guided tour to learn more about the building’s history and architecture. The tour includes a visit to the crypt, where many of the famous figures buried in the Panthéon are interred.

Panoramic view of Paris with the Pantheon at sunset, France. View of the Pantheon and the latin district at sunset, Paris, France.
The impressive dome of the Panthéon towers above, showcasing the neoclassical design and grandeur of this iconic Parisian monument

How to Buy Tickets

Visitors to the Panthéon can purchase tickets online in advance or in person at the ticket office. The ticket price includes access to the entire building, including the crypt and the Foucault pendulum. Visitors can also opt for a guided tour, which is available in multiple languages.

It is worth noting that the Panthéon can be quite busy, especially during peak tourist season. To avoid long lines and ensure a smoother experience, it is recommended to purchase tickets in advance online. Additionally, visitors can opt for a priority access ticket, which allows them to skip the line and enter the building immediately upon arrival.

Note: you will need to scroll down until you find the Panthéon section to purchase your tickets.

The Panthéon is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, with extended hours during the summer months. It is closed on January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.

Couple resting on sofa using smartphone enjoy online shopping
Plan your visit to the Panthéon ahead of time to skip the queues

The Panthéon is a true gem of Parisian architecture and history. From its origins as a church to its current role as a mausoleum and cultural venue, the Panthéon has played a significant role in the cultural and political history of France. Its neoclassical design and awe-inspiring dome make it one of the most impressive buildings in Paris, and its significance as a final resting place for famous French figures makes it an important destination for anyone interested in French culture and history. Whether you are a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply looking for a beautiful and inspiring place to visit in Paris, the Panthéon is not to be missed.

The Panthéon

The Panthéon
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The Panthéon is a grand neoclassical monument in Paris, France, known for its imposing dome and rich history. Originally built as a church, it now serves as a secular mausoleum and final resting place for numerous prominent French figures, including Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie. The Panthéon is also recognized for its stunning architecture and stunning views of the city from its dome.
The Panthéon is a grand neoclassical monument in Paris, France, known for its imposing dome and rich history. Originally built as a church, it now serves as a secular mausoleum and final resting place for numerous prominent French figures, including Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie. The Panthéon is also recognized for its stunning architecture and stunning views of the city from its dome.
Total Score
    10/10 The best
    The architecture and design of the Panthéon are impressive and grand. The neoclassical style of the building is a treat for the eyes, and the intricate details and artwork inside the building are awe-inspiring.
    10/10 The best
    The Panthéon has significant historical significance, serving as a secular mausoleum and final resting place for many prominent French figures. Its past as a church and transition to a mausoleum adds layers to its historical significance.
    10/10 The best
    The Panthéon is easily accessible, with nearby metro stations and a bus stop. There are also options for online ticketing to avoid the queues, making the visit hassle-free.
    10/10 The best
    The views of Paris from the Panthéon's dome are breathtaking, providing an unforgettable panorama of the city. The surrounding area is also beautiful, with the Luxembourg Gardens and Sorbonne University nearby.
    9/10 Amazing
    While the Panthéon does not offer any entertainment or dining options, the nearby Latin Quarter offers a diverse selection of restaurants, cafes, and bars to explore.
    10/10 The best
    The Panthéon is a must-visit in Paris, with its impressive architecture, rich history, and stunning views making for an unforgettable experience. It's a great place to learn more about France's history and culture and offers a unique perspective on Paris's beauty.
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