Visiting the Paris Pantheon: A Complete Guide
Not to be confused by the very well known Pantheon in Rome, Paris’ Pantheon was built far more recently — the 1700s to be exact.
It’s not the most overt attraction in the city of lights, however history lovers will do well to make a pitstop here, even if just for an hour. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting this grand monument, and what to expect once inside:
What is the Paris Pantheon?
So, why does Paris have a Pantheon anyway? During the mid 1700s, King Louis XV got very ill, and it was unlikely that he would survive. When he did, he was so over the moon that he decided to build a church in honor of St. Genevieve. This occurred on the same location where the Pantheon now stands.
Known for being a spendthrift, King Louis kept running out of funds, and the church took decades to build. He eventually died before the construction could be completed, and so the church was converted into a temple for great French scientists, philosophers and doctors who needed somewhere to rest when they eventually passed themselves.
There are some famous folk buried here, over 70 to be exact, but unfortunately only 5 of them are women.
Getting to the Pantheon in Paris
The Pantheon sits in the 5th arrondissement, in a neighborhood known as the Latin Quarter. This is a vibrant part of the Left Bank, filled with university students, restaurants and bars.
The monument is just to the east of the famous Luxembourg Gardens. A lot of tourists do both of these attractions on the same day, either preceding the Pantheon visit with a stroll through the royal grounds, or walking to the gardens after touring the building.
The nearest metro stop to the Pantheon is the ‘Cardinal Lemoine’. However, if you’re planning on checking out the Luxembourg Gardens during the same outing, rather make use of the ‘Luxembourg’ metro stop instead.
Tickets, Tickets, Tickets
Few historic attractions in Paris are free to enter, and unfortunately the Pantheon is not one of them.
Entry into the Pantheon costs €11.50. If you’re traveling with a group of 20 people or more, you get a discount rate of just €9 per person.
Under 18s, veterans and EU citizens can enter the Pantheon free of charge. If you’re not keen to pay, visit on the first Sunday of the month and enjoy free entry to all.
A top tip when traveling Paris, is to always, always purchase your attraction tickets in online. Usually, this will allow you to skip the ticketing queue, which can save you hours during peak season. Pantheon tickets are available for purchase both online and at the monument itself.
On free entry days, expect crowding! Arrive early to avoid having to wait in the long lines.
Know Your Hours
Also like a lot of attractions in Paris, the Pantheon is a seasonal spot. This means that the house of operation change with the tides, as well as a few national holidays whereby it does not open at all.
Currently, the opening hours at the Pantheon are as follows:
1 July – 30 Sept 10:45am to 7pm
1 Oct – 31 March 10am to 6pm
1 April – 30 June 10am to 6:30pm
The holidays during which the Pantheon is closed are New Years Day, Christmas, All Saints’ Day, Armistice Day and International Worker’s Day.
Once yearly, the city of Paris plays host to what is known as the night of museums. All of the museums around the city stay open through until midnight, featuring exhibitions, talks and artist performances. The Pantheon joins in on this fun, and opens their doors long after closing with a packed lineup of poets, authors and speakers from all over.
The date of the night of museums is determined independently each year.
What to See Inside the Paris Pantheon
First of all, there are temporary exhibits in the Pantheon throughout the year. It’s worth looking into when planning your visit, as there may be something specific that tickles your fancy.
Once inside the Pantheon, you’ll first marvel at the high ceiling of the entrance hall, where the famous dome was constructed. Trust me when I say that the dome is one thousand times more impressive from the inside, than it is from the out.
The artwork that adorns each of the columns is another point of wonder. Hanging near the alter is the Foucault pendulum; the device that was invented by a Frenchman sometime in the 1800s that proved Earth’s rotation.
Once you’ve taken in enough art and architecture, you’ll want to visit the many graves that the temple is home to. The mausoleum isn’t the most exciting event in the Pantheon, but it can be fun to try to track down the mere 5 female tombs amongst the many, many men.
To end off your visit, take on the 270 stairs that lead up to the Pantheon balcony. This offers one of the best views over Paris as your reward. Capacity on the balcony is regulated, so you won’t feel overcrowded or claustrophobic here.