Initially designed to outdo the great architecture of Rome and London's churches, the Panthéon later became a place of interment for distinguished French figures.

TravelCurious Tip

Don’t miss the famous pendulum hanging here, with which Jean Bernard Léon Foucault proved in 1851 that the Earth spins on its axis.

In the historic Latin Quarter of Paris stands the enormous Pantheon, a spectacular example of 18th century French architecture and an unmissable feature of the French capital. It was commissioned by Louis XV, who had been suffering from a serious disease in 1744 and feared that he would soon succumb. A religious man, he vowed that if God granted him the strength to recover, he would build a grand church to Sainte-Genevieve. His wish was granted, and he gave the job of organising the construction to the Marquis of Marigny.

Grand Designs

It took some 34 years to complete, but the finished Pantheon was universally admired and became a European wonder. The floor plan is 110m long and 85m wide, and is topped by a large dome whose tip towers 83m above the ground. The huge portico at the front is based on the 2nd century Pantheon in Rome, and is supported by an enormous set of Corinthian pillars.

A Hero’s Burial

Beneath the Pantheon is a vast crypt which houses the tombs of some of France’s most famous sons and daughters. Shortly after the building was completed, during the French Revolution, it was decided that it should be converted from a church into a mausoleum, and the inscription above the entrance reads “To great men, the grateful homeland”. Burial here is strictly reserved for national heroes - Voltaire, Emile Zola, Victor Hugo and Marie and Pierre Curie are all interred beneath the Pantheon.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Paris
The Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter represents the essence of intellectual Paris, a place to unwind amidst the rarefied atmosphere of the 5th and 6th arrondissements.
La Sorbonne
Founded in 1253 to give impoverished students the opportunity to study theology, this is one of the world's most famous universities.
Le Jardin du Luxembourg
Spanning 25 hectares, this stunning garden is a quintessential Parisian space for relaxation.
Shakespeare and Co Bookshop
A legendary meeting place and boarding-house for many aspiring writers. Stocks everything from Shakespeare to Joyce.
Thermes de Cluny
Gallo-Roman thermal bath's ruins lying in the heart of Paris' 5th arrondissement.
Church of Saint Severin
It is one of the oldest churches that remains standing on the Left Bank of the Latin Quarter, and it continues in use as a place of worship.

Related Tours

The Latin Quarter: Parisian Authors & Thinkers
The Latin Quarter is one of Paris' most quirky and interesting neighbourhoods. It is an ambient juxtaposition of medieval backstreets, churches and grand Haussmman-style boulevards, which were built in the 19th century as part of Paris’ modernisation, the area takes its name from medieval times when the majority of local residents were clergy or students who spoke Latin. 

  • Spend 2.5 hours with an expert local guide
  • Experience the artistic haunts of Sartre, Hemingway, and Camus
  • Get off the beaten track at Paris’ best-hidden squares and parks
  • Walk Paris' narrowest street and see the city's oldest church
  • See the famed Paris Panthéon and one of the most beautiful parks in the world - the Luxembourg Gardens
The Latin Quarter was the scene of the student uprising in May ’68, even though its medieval facade strikes a strong contrast to its liberal, intellectual and artistic side. On Boulevard St-Michel and Boulevard St Germain, you will find many cafes where the likes of Camus, Orwell, and Hemingway passed hours discussing philosophy and literature. The area is also rich with interesting book shops, most notably the Shakespeare and Company - a legendary meeting place and boarding house for many aspiring writers.

Your tour guide will direct you through the neighbourhood’s best cultural haunts: experience the wonders of medieval backstreets that are adorned with theatres and jazz clubs, unchanged since their post-war beginnings, and see the narrowest street in Paris. Visit the city’s oldest church in St Julien le Pauvre and see one of the most famous academic institutions in the world - La Sorbonne. 

Next stop off at the Panthéon, a mausoleum where many distinguished French figures such as Voltaire, Braille, and Rousseau were laid to rest. Then wander through the grounds of the stunning Luxembourg Gardens and Palace, the perfect place to people watch, enjoy nature, and feel like a true Parisian.


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