Nestled in the Latin Quarter, the Pantheon of Paris is undoubtedly one of the most emblematic monuments of the French capital. Built in the 18th century, it houses the tombs of many personalities who have marked the history of France… In short, an essential stop for art and history lovers.
Follow the guide!
💡 The Captain’s tip 💡
Want to know more about the history of Paris? Captain Ulysses highly recommends this free guided tour of the capital. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!
Are you looking for a hotel in Paris? Feel free to have a look at the Captain’s article: Where to stay in Paris? Tips & recommendations
A short history of the Pantheon in Paris
Built in the 18th century at the request of Louis XV, the Pantheon of Paris follows the plans of the architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot. The king wished to build a church dedicated to Sainte-Geneviève, patron saint of the city of Paris, in the Latin Quarter, where there were already many religious buildings.
If the Pantheon has lost any religious function today, it was originally a church!
Although it is considered neoclassical in style, the monument, which is very eclectic, borrows from different architectural styles (Gothic, Byzantine, classical).
Les travaux commencent en 1758 et s’achèvent plus de 30 ans plus tard, en 1790. L’édifice ne reste une église que très peu de temps. En 1791, l’Église Sainte-Geneviève est convertie par les révolutionnaires en “Panthéon des grands hommes”, un véritable mausolée national rendant hommage aux personnalités qui ont contribué à l’histoire de la France.
Many great men (and women) are buried in rhz Pantheon, such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo or Marie Curie.
Today, the Pantheon is one of the most emblematic monuments of Paris. Open to the public, it welcomes millions of visitors every year who come to discover its rich past and its many architectural treasures.
🏛️ From Rome to Paris 🏛️
The Pantheon of Paris is not the only famous monument to bear this name… it indeed also named after the Pantheon in Rome, which is much older and dates back to the Roman Empire! The famous Italian building is also used as a mausoleum for great men, but – unlike the Pantheon in Paris – it remains a consecrated church.
Visiting the Pantheon in Paris
The exterior of the Pantheon in Paris
Before entering the Pantheon, let’s halt, if you will, outside the famous Parisian monument.
110 meters / 360 feet long and 84 meters / 275 feet wide, the Pantheon is a building in the shape of a Greek cross, surmounted by a 83-meter /72-eet high dome at the top of which a small lantern. The facade is decorated with a portico of Corinthian columns and surmounted by a pediment representing the Motherland, protector of Science – represented on the right by scholars, artists and philosophers – and History – represented on the left by great statesmen. On the pediment, don’t miss the famous inscription: “To the great men, the grateful motherland”.
The interior of the Pantheon in Paris
One thing is certain, the architecture of the Pantheon is very imposing!
The central nave is supported by columns and surmounted by a dome with an oculus, a star-shaped opening at the top of the dome. Large windows also allow light to enter the building.
The Pantheon is decorated with numerous frescoes and works of art that evoke the history of France and its great men, including works by Puvis de Chavannes, Antoine-Jean Gros, Léon Bonnat, Alexandre Cabanel and Jean-Paul Laurens.
You will also find countless busts and statues of famous personalities, such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo and Marie Curie.
From April 1 to October 31, visitors can climb to the top of the dome to admire the view of the capital.
The tombs of the Pantheon in Paris
Located under the building, the crypt of the Pantheon in Paris houses the tombs (or urns) of 81 personalities who have marked the history of France, each adorned with sculptures and gilding, and surrounded by statues and busts.
You will find among others the tombs of Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Marie Curie, Joséphine Baker and Simone Veil.
Although the crypt now houses the remains of 81 emblematic personalities, it has a capacity of… nearly 300 tombs! .
The Foucault pendulum
Conceived by the French physicist Léon Foucault in 1851, the Foucault pendulum is a scientific invention demonstrating the rotation of the earth. The first public demonstration dates from 1851, the pendulum being hung on the vault of the Pantheon in Paris. He was reinstalled in the Pantheon in 1995.
The Foucault pendulum consists of a weight suspended from a silk thread 67 meters / 220 feet long. It is set up under the dome of the Pantheon, in the central nave. The swinging motion of the pendulum highlights the rotation of the Earth on itself.
Getting to the Pantheon in Paris
Located in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, in the famous Latin Quarter, the Pantheon is within walking distance of many points of interest such as the Sorbonne University, the Luxembourg Garden and Place Saint-Michel.
The Pantheon is easily accessible by public transportation:
- Metro: the closest metro stations to the Pantheon are “Luxembourg” (lines B and C) and “Cardinal Lemoine” (line 10). The Pantheon is also accessible from the “Maubert-Mutualité” station (line 10).
- Bus: several bus lines serve the Pantheon. The closest lines are 21, 27, 38, 63 and 86.
- Bike: the Pantheon is accessible by bike thanks to one of the many self-service bike stations gathered throughout the city.
For your information, the Pantheon is also accessible to disabled visitors.
The Pantheon is open every day of the week:
- From October 1st to March 31st: 10am – 6pm (last entry at 5:15pm)
- From April 1st to September 30th: 10am – 6:30pm (last entry at 5:45pm)
Access to the top of the dome is open from April 1 to October 31.
Tickets for the Pantheon in Paris are 11.50 euros (full price). Admission is free for people under 26, students, teachers and people with disabilities.
You will have to pay an extra 3.50 euros to access the top of the dome. Captain Ulysses recommends that you book your entrance tickets online to avoid the queues at the entrance of the monument.
More info: skip-the-line tickets for the Paris Pantheon.
💡 The Captain’s tip: access to the Pantheon is also included in the Museum Pass. It provides direct access to more than 60 museums and monuments in Paris, including the Louvre Museum, the Musée d’Orsay and the Centre Pompidou.
More information: Paris Museum Pass
👉 Skip the lines in Paris: book your tickets and tours in advance!
👉 Looking for advice and recommendations? Here are all of Captain Ulysses’ suggestions!
🛏️ Accommodation: Looking for an accommodation in Paris? Good news: there are plenty of options in the French capital. To book your hotel in Paris, Captain Ulysses highly recommends the website Booking.com. From cheap hostels to luxury palaces, you’ll have plenty of options to chose from. As for the localisation, it depends both on your budget and on what you’re looking for. If you can’t afford staying in the most expensive areas of the capital, the Captain recommends that you look for a hotel in the 12th or 13th arrondissements: they’re not as central, but are very well connected to the centre of Paris. The Buttes au Cailles, which looks just like a small village, is one of the Captain’s favourite neighbourhoods in Paris. If you’d rather stay in a chic and sophisticated hotel, here are the best 3 options according to the Captain: the St. James , the Dokhan’s and the Metropolitan .
🎟️ Activities : in order to book skip-the-line tickets, tours and activities in Paris, Captain Ulysses highly recommends GetYourGuide and Civitatis. Guided tours, entrance tickets, cruises, unusual activities: there’s plenty to chose from. If you want to avoid queuing to get into museums and monuments, the Captain suggests opting for skip-the-line tickets.
⛵ City cruises: Can you really visit Paris without going on a cruise on the Seine? The Captain loves sailing on the river and admiring the emblematic monuments of the French capital, especially at nightfall. You will find a large selection of cruises in Paris here.
🎫 City cards : If you’re planning on staying in Paris for a few days, you should definitely consider investing in a city card giving access to the capital’s top museums and landmarks. which includes access to the most famous monuments in Paris.
🚐 Transfers: the parisian airports are located outside the city and getting to the city centre can be quite expensive.
If your budget is tight, the Captain recommends the RATP shuttles that will drop you off at Opera if you’re coming from Roissy airport and at Denfert-Rochereau if you’re coming from Orly airport.
But for a few extra euros, you can book a transfer that will take you directly to your hotel.
If you are traveling in a group, this option is all the more interesting. Find out more here.
🚌 Transports: While you’ll be able to explore part of the city on foot, you will have to use the parisian public transports to explore some of the capital’s landmarks. In order to avoid accumulating (and losing) metro tickets, the Captain recommends opting for an unlimited transport pass. You can buy it directly at in any metro station.
Open tour buses (audioguides included) are also a good option.
If you’d rather explore Paris on a boat, you will love the batobus, a river shuttle on the Seine !
✈️ Flights, trains & buses : Good news: getting to Paris is quite easy! If you’re planning on flying to the capital, the Captain recommends Skyscanner, an online comparator which is perfect for finding the best deals. If your dates are flexible, you can even compare prices over several weeks. Paris is also easily accessible by train and bus. To book your tickets, the Captain highly recommends Omio, which integrates the offer of 207 train and bus companies in 44 countries.
Mathias Reding | Nicolas | Clement Percheron
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