Essential Architecture-  Paris

Panthéon in Paris


Jacques-Germain Soufflot


Place du Pantheon, 75001 Paris, France.Telephone,


1756 to 1797


French Baroque


masonry, domed


The Panthéon is a building in the Latin Quarter in Paris, France. It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve, but after many vicissitudes now combines liturgical functions with its role as a famous burial place. It is an early example of Neoclassicism, with a façade modelled on the Pantheon in Rome, surmounted by a small dome that owes some of its character to Bramante's "Tempietto". Located in the Ve arrondissement on the top of Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the Panthéon looks out over all of Paris.

King Louis XV vowed in 1744 that if he recovered from an illness he would replace the ruined church of Sainte-Geneviève (see entry Genevieve) with an edifice worthy of the patron saint of Paris. The Marquis of Marigny was entrusted with the fulfillment of the vow after the king regained his health. Marigny's protégé Jacques-Germain Soufflot (1713-1780) was charged with the plans, and the construction of the Panthéon began.

The overall design was that of a Greek cross with a massive portico of Corinthian columns. Its ambitious lines called for a vast building 110 metres long by 84 metres wide, and 83 metres high. No less vast was its crypt.

The foundations were laid in 1758, but due to financial difficulties, it was only completed after Soufflot's death by his pupil, Jean-Baptiste Rondelet, in 1789. As it was completed at the start of the French Revolution, the new Revolutionary government ordered it to be changed from a church to a mausoleum for the interment of great Frenchmen.

Twice since then it has reverted to being a church, only to become again a temple to the great men of France.

In 1851 physicist Léon Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the Earth by his experiment conducted in the Panthéon, by constructing a 67 meter Foucault pendulum beneath the central dome. The original iron sphere from the pendulum was returned to the Panthéon in 1995 from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers.

Foucault Pendulum in the Panthéon
Foucault Pendulum in the Panthéon

Burial place
The inscription above the entrance reads AUX GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE ("For great men the grateful Nation").

Among those buried in its necropolis are Voltaire, Rousseau, Marat, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Marie Curie, Louis Braille and Soufflot, its architect.

A widely-repeated story that the remains of Voltaire were stolen by religious fanatics in 1814 and thrown into a garbage heap is false. Such rumors resulted in the coffin being opened in 1897, which confirmed that his remains were still present.

On November 30, 2002, in an elaborate but solemn procession, six Republican Guards carried the coffin of Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), the author of The Three Musketeers, to the Panthéon. Draped in a blue-velvet cloth inscribed with the Musketeers' motto: "Un pour tous, tous pour un" ("One for all, all for one,") the remains had been transported from their original interment site in the Cimetière de Villers-Cotterêts in Aisne, France. In his speech, President Jacques Chirac stated that an injustice was being corrected with the proper honoring of one of France's greatest authors.

Full list of people interred
Date of burial
in the Panthéon Name Notes 
1791 Honoré Mirabeau Disinterred in 1794 
1791 Voltaire 
1792 Nicolas-Joseph Beaurepaire Disappeared 
1793 Louis Michel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau Assassinated deputy, disinterred from the Panthéon 
1793 Augustin-Marie Picot, marquis de Dampierre Disappeared 
1794 Jean-Paul Marat Disinterred from the Panthéon 
1794 Jean-Jacques Rousseau 
1806 Claude-Louis Petiet 
1806 François Denis Tronchet 
1807 Jean-Étienne-Marie Portalis 
1807 Louis-Pierre-Pantaléon Resnier 
1807 Louis-Joseph-Charles-Amable d'Albert, duc de Luynes Disinterred from the Panthéon 
1807 Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Bévière 
1808 Francois Barthélemy, comte Béguinot 
1808 Pierre Jean George Cabanis 
1808 Gabriel-Louis, marquis de Caulaincourt 
1808 Jean-Frédéric, comte de Perrégaux 
1808 Antoine-César de Choiseul, duc de Praslin 
1808 Jean-Pierre-Firmin, comte Malher Urn with his heart 
1809 Jean Baptiste Papin, comte de Saint-Christau 
1809 Joseph-Marie, comte Vien 
1809 Pierre Garnier, comte de Laboissière 
1809 Jean Pierre, comte Sers Urn with his heart 
1809 Jérôme-Louis-François-Joseph, comte de Durazzo Urn with his heart 
1809 Justin-Bonaventure, comte Morard de Galles Urn with his heart 
1809 Emmanuel Crétet, comte de Champnol 
1810 Giovanni Baptista, cardinal Caprara 
1810 Louis-Joseph-Vincent-Leblon, comte de Saint-Hilaire 
1810 Jean-Baptiste, comte Treilhard 
1810 Jean Lannes, duc de Montebello 
1810 Charles-Pierre-Claret, comte de Fleurieu de La Tourette 
1811 Louis Antoine de Bougainville 
1811 Charles, cardinal Erskine of Kellie 
1811 Alexandre-Antoine Hureau, baron de Sénarmont Urn with his heart 
1811 Ippolito Antonio, cardinal Vicenti Mareri 
1811 Nicolas-Marie, comte de Songis des Courbons 
1811 Michel, comte Ordener 
1812 Jean-Marie-François Lepaige, comte Dorsenne 
1812 Jean Guillaume De Winter, comte de Huessen 
1813 Hyacinthe-Hugues-Timoléon de Cossé, comte de Brissac 
1813 Jean-Ignace Jacqueminot, comte de Ham 
1813 Joseph Louis, comte Lagrange 
1813 Jean, comte Rousseau 
1813 François-Marie-Joseph-Justin, comte de Viry 
1814 Jean-Nicolas, comte Démeunier 
1814 Jean-Louis-Ebenezer, comte Reynier 
1814 Claude-Ambroise Régnier, duc de Massa di Carrara 
1815 Antoine-Jean-Marie, comte Thévenard 
1815 Claude-Juste-Alexandre, comte Legrand 
1829 Jacques-Germain Soufflot 
1885 Victor Hugo 
1889 Lazare Carnot Buried at the time of the centennial celebration of the French Revolution 
1889 Théophile-Malo Corret de la Tour d'Auvergne Buried at the time of the centennial celebration of the French Revolution 
1889 Jean-Baptiste Baudin Buried at the time of the centennial celebration of the French Revolution 
1889 François Séverin Marceau-Desgraviers Buried at the time of the centennial celebration of the French Revolution – Only his ashes are buried there 
1894 Marie François Sadi Carnot Buried immediately after his assassination 
1907 Marcellin Berthelot Mme Sophie Berthelot is buried with her husband 
1908 Émile Zola 
1920 Léon Gambetta Urn with his heart 
1924 Jean Jaurès Interred ten years after his assassination 
1933 Paul Painlevé 
1948 Paul Langevin 
1948 Jean Perrin Buried the same day as Paul Langevin 
1949 Félix Éboué First black person to be buried the Panthéon 
1949 Victor Schoelcher His father Marc, is also in the Panthéon. Victor wanted to be buried with his father 
1952 Louis Braille Body moved to the Panthéon on the centenary of his death 
1964 Jean Moulin Ashes transferred from Père Lachaise Cemetery on December 19, 1964 
1987 René Cassin Entered the Pantheon on the centenary of his birth 
1988 Jean Monnet Entered the Panthéon on the 100th anniversary of his birth 
1989 Abbé Baptiste-Henri Grégoire Buried at the time of the bicentennial celebration of the French Revolution 
1989 Gaspard Monge Buried at the time of the bicentennial celebration of the French Revolution 
1989 Marquis de Condorcet Buried at the time of the bicentennial celebration of the French Revolution 
1995 Pierre Curie 
1995 Marie Curie First woman buried in the Panthéon for her works 
1996 André Malraux 
2002 Alexandre Dumas, père Reburied here 132 years after his death.