Panthéon- Table of Contents ....................Architecture Around the World

Paris, France


1758 -1789.


Jacques-Germain Soufflot, 1758-1780
Jean-Baptiste Rondelet



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Neoclassical style

Plaque commemorating changing the church to a mausoleum

Modeled after the Pantheon in Rome

Dome resembles that of St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Dome resembles that of St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Dome resembles that of St. Paul's Cathedral in London.





Massive portico of Corinthian columns

Portico ceiling

Corinthian capital

Corinthian fluted shaft and base

Paneled door

The Panthéon is a Neoclassical church in the Latin Quarter of Paris. It was originally an abbey dedicated to St. Genevieve (the patron saint of Paris), but now functions primarily as a burial place for famous French heroes.

In 1744, King Louis XV vowed that if he recovered from a mysterious illness he would replace the ruined Abbey of Sainte-Geneviève with an edifice worthy of the patron saint of Paris. The foundations were laid in 1758, but due to financial difficulties, it was not completed until 1789.

Towards the beginning of the French Revolution, in 1791 [French Revolution: 1789ö1799], the new Revolutionary government ordered it to be changed from a church to a mausoleum for the interment of great Frenchmen [see plaque above]. Twice since then it has reverted to being a church, only to once again become a temple to the great men of France.

The Panthéon is an early example of Neoclassicism, with a Greek-cross plan and a massive portico of Corinthian columns. Its ambitious lines called for a vast building 110 meters long by 84 meters wide, and 83 meters high. The crypt is equally vast.

The Panthéon's façade is modeled on that of the Pantheon in Rome, surmounted by a small dome that resembles that of St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

The architecture of the Panthéon marks a clear break with the playful Roccoco of the Louis XV style, as seen for example in the Hôtel de Soubise in the Marais, which in turn was a reaction against the clear, "classical"French Baroque of Louis XIV's reign. The Panthéon was the first building in Paris in the Neoclassical style which sought to return to the architectural simplicity and monumentality of classical antiquity

Photos and their arrangement © 2008 Chuck LaChiusa
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