On a site where people as illustrious as Geneviève the patron saint of Paris, Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Rousseau are buried, one can expect the unexpected, including some ghosts.
So while the architecture of the Pantheon is stunning (designed by Soufflor and Rondelet):
Outside, a candid moment brings this perfectly untapped moment into my view:
This amazing contraption (Foucault’s pendulum) tells time just through…gravity and the rotation of the earth! It was removed when the building went back to religious use under Napoleon III and reinstated to celebrate the law separating church and state in 1905. Americans would never understand the nuance of that.
Not everyone was as excited as me about Foucault’s pendulum. There was a kid very bored playing games on his phone:
Then I came upon an Alice in Wonderland moment:
Oh wait, it’s just a miniature replica of the place:
Ok, so I’m standing in the real Pantheon, next to a miniature reproduction of the Pantheon with the word Pantheon on the wall. Too many referents, too much semiotics at once:
So I go into the crypt to check out the famous people buried there and I catch a ghost that only my camera can capture. Too bad he looks like a beer-bellied American! There’s a nice exhibition down here too, with the history of the building.
I go back upstairs and admire the sculpture by Sicard, showing the members of parliament and solders from Year II of the French Republic. It always seems like such a grand gesture, but I’m glad it’s to a woman!
And I leave you with a shot of the dome:
If you’re an architecture student, admission is free. The building is a true amalgamation of many architectural traditions: Greek cruciform plan with Corinthian and Tuscan column orders, Gothic system of arches and flying buttresses and Renaissance-inspired dome. There are also tours offered into the dome.
Place du Pantheon