The Panthéon Paris is built on the site where King Clovis in 507 AD constructed a basilica which he planned would eventually hold his remains. In the 1750s an abbey church dedicated to Saint Genevieve was built but was not completed until 1789. In 1791 the basilica was turned into a temple to house the ashes of the great men of France.
The pediment on the front of the Panthéon is the fourth since its construction. It was created by David d’Angers in 1837 and depicts ” the fatherland bestowing its rewards “.
The main floor is enormous as the architect’s ambition was to outdo the church of St Peter in Rome. It is overwhelmingly beautiful but the mathematician in me loves the pendulum installed in 1851 by the French physicist Léon Foucault. It demonstrates the rotation of the earth: Foucault suspended an iron ball approximately one foot in diameter from a 200 + foot wire. Although it appears that the pendulum is moving as you watch it, what is actually moving is the floor of the Panthéon beneath that is moving as the earth rotates.
Going down into the crypt you will find the tombs containing the ashes of 80 great men and women of France. Each one is uniquely different.