We climbed up from the River Seine and snaked our way through quiet Parisian side streets to the Pantheon. It may be all under wrap and renovation on the outside, but the interior is definitely worth the visit.
The Pantheon is a grand tribute to the greats of French history. Only prerequisite for induction is greatness and death.
The interior of the Pantheon is a grand open space. The dome towers above and the corridor stretches far and away to the eye. We checked out every little corner of the grand hall. There were statues that were commemorated to different groups like soldiers or writers. There were also little surprises, like a quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author of Le Petit Prince, engraved on one wall in the hall.
This grand painting entitled Vers La Gloire graces the very back wall of the grand hall. It is a grand collection of knights and horsemen galloping their way to victory. At least, I suppose that’s what the painting is supposed to mean.
After exploring the grand hall and dome, we entered the subterranean crypt. This is where the remains of many France’s famous literaries, scientists, politicians, and philosphers grace the humble basement of this grand building.
Voltaire and Rousseau are amongst the initial few sarcophagi that greet visitors near the entrance to the crypt. Voltaire even has a statue of himself watching over his remains.
The crypt is a place solemnity and respect. People talk quietly and walk gently amongst the remains of France’s most famous citizens.
Marie Currie was the first woman ever interred here in the Pantheon. Other greats include Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Marie’s husband Pierre, and Louis Braille
If you want to get in touch with France’s past and encounter some of her most famous children, then the Pantheon is a perfect place to visit. It is also a less popular tourist attraction, but is certainly no less significant to Paris than any other famous site. Our visit was a perfect escape from the summer heat and the crazy tourist crowds elsewhere in the city.