2. La Vie – Panthéon


Panthéon, Paris


From the place we walk west into Rue Blainville and then straight on through Rue de l’Estrapade until we reach Rue Clotilde, which we follow to the right. We almost at once to the back of the Panthéon on the summit of Montagne Sainte-Geneviève.

Built as a church 1758-1789, designed by Soufflot in Neoclassic style. Its plan is like a Greek crucifix and it has a giant dome which can be seen from many places in the city and is thus similar to the dome of Saint Paul’s in the City of London.

Soufflot gave the church a light design with very high and slender columns. The building was later made heavier and uglier by bricking up the windows. It was done when the revolutionary government changed the Panthéon into a mortuary of great Frenchmen. Voltaire, Rousseau and Victor Hugo are interred there. The interior is now cold and forbidding.

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