Things to do at the Pantheon
A beacon to France’s defunct intelligentsia, the Panthéon is a must-see when you visit Paris. Commissioned by Louis XV, the ancient Sainte-Geneviève Church was converted into a secular mausoleum and the burial place of exceptional Frenchmen who have sacrificed their lives for their country or who have been brilliant French citizens. That being said, here are some of the things to at the Panthéon!
1.) Foucault’s pendulum
The first thing to do in the Panthéon is to see Foucault’s pendulum. The 67-meter pendulum was designed to demonstrate the rotation of the earth in an experiment conducted in the Panthéon in 1851. The original pendulum is now displayed at the Musée des Arts et Métiers, in the third district, but a copy is still displayed at the Panthéon. Note that during renovations the pendulum is off display.
2.) Visit the crypt and see the graves of the greatest French citizens
Among the things to do at the Panthéon, the visit of the crypt is a must-do. Located in the subterranean chamber, the crypt is the final resting place for well-known French writers, poets and scientists. As the inscription above the entrance indicates, “To the great men, the nation is grateful“: by burying its great men in the Panthéon, the nation acknowledges their good deeds towards France. To be admitted, one has to be considered a “national hero” by a parliamentary act. The graves to see are those of philosophers Voltaire and Rousseau, writers Hugo and Zola, resistant Jean Moulin. You can also see the grave of Marie Curie, the only woman interred based on her own merits.
Among the thing to see is also the plaque unveiled by Jacques Chirac in 2007 to commemorate the more than 2500 people recognized as Righteous among the nations for saving the lives of Jews during WWII. Three quarters of the French Jewish survived the war thanks to the help of ordinary French citizen who agreed to hide them from the nazis, and rescued them from anti-Semitic persecution. As such “they incarnated the honour of France and its value of justice, tolerance and humanity“.
3.) One of the best views in Paris
One of the things to do at the Panthéon is to enjoy one of the best views of Paris from the top of the building. Climb the colonnade encircling the dome for sweeping views of the city. It offers a panorama on almost all of Paris. Hence, the Panthéon is a must-do not only because of its visually amazing architecture, or because it pays respect to the French men and women that contributed to make the world a better place, but also because it dominates Paris and will give you an astonishing overview of the City of Lights.
The Pantheon is open every day from 10.00 am to 6.30 pm from April to September. From October to March, it is open from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm.
Now that you know some of my favorite things to do at the Pantheon, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you more details about anything. We’ll be glad to help you out! I also hope I will see you in one of our tours! At DiscoverWalks, we always make sure you experience the city in the best conditions and as much as possible! All the history and culture of the city is presented to you through the locals perspective!