In 1744, King Louis the 15th, who was seriously ill, vowed that if he recovered, he would replace the ruins of the holy church of Saint Genevieve with a luxurious building worthy of the patron saint of Paris. The foundations of the building that was soon to be built in a neoclassical style were dug in 1758 and Louis himself laid the first stone in 1764. The construction was delayed due to financial difficulties. Later, in light of the death of the architect Soufflot (in 1780), it was completed, but it happened a few years later, in 1790, after the outbreak of the French Revolution. It was completed it by two of Soufflots students.
Although in a later period, the building returned to its first purpose as a church, not long afterwards it returned to serve as a burial site. The changing purpose of the building and the decorations on it, the dedications engraved on its walls and symbols, allow us to examine the construction of the French nation because of the great writers, philosophers, and intellectuals buried here, which were worthy of recognition by the French nation.
In January 2007, French President Jacques Chirac unveiled a plaque in honor of 2,600 people who were recognized by Yad Vashem in Israel as Righteous Among the Nations thanks to their contribution to saving Jews from deportation to concentration camps.
Throughout the lower part of the Pantheon you can visit the graves of distinguished French people - Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Emil Zola, Walter, Marie Curie and many others.
Inside the building you can see wall paintings depicting the life of Saint Geneviève. In the center of the building are four ships that together form a Greek cross (which reminds us of the original purpose of the building as a church). Above them is the dome of the Pantheon - decorated with an iron frame. In the gallery surrounding the Pantheon’s Dome you can enjoy a panoramic view over Paris.
Free for Under 18 and under 26 from the European Union.