Thursday, June 22, 2017

Paris Pantheon Offers Unexpected Views

The gray-blue dome of Paris' Pantheon is visible out our hotel window.  On Sunday, we set out to get a closer look at this neo-classical structure that was completed in 1790.

It was a mild, clear day with a breeze making things even more comfortable outside. The 20-30 minute walk was very pleasant.

This Pantheon is modeled after the ancient Roman one.

France's King Louis XV is credited, in 1744, with the idea for this magnificent structure.  If he recovered from an illness (which he did), the king vowed to replace a ruined church that had been at this Latin Quarter location with one worthy of Paris' patron St. Genevieve.

Construction would not begin until 1758 and would take 32 years to finish.

It is easy to see why it took so long!  The temple-like shape and ornate design elements are amazing.
This panorama, taken with my iPhone 7, shows the side-to-side, wall-to-wall detail.
The brochure distributed to visitors describes the Pantheon this way:  "From Christian basilica to Temple of the Nation."

In 1791, according to the brochure, the monument was transformed into the National Pantheon.

"The huge sanctuary was returned to its role as a church twice during the 19th century, before being definitively reinvested with its civic function in 1885, for (prominent French poet, novelist and dramatist) Victor Hugo's funeral."

Murals, paintings and sculptures convey important parts of France and Paris history.
The depth and detail of this massive military sculpture is impressive.

La Convention Nationale commemorates, in 1792, France's move to a Republican government, turning away from rule by monarchy.
 St. Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, is given her due at the top of the Pantheon with this fresco under the dome.
Unlike the Catacombs of Paris, depicted in my previous Paris post, the Pantheon had no line this Sunday morning.  We got right in and would not be very crowded the 90 minutes or so we toured there.
Alesia stands in front of large model of the Paris' Pantheon.
Joan of Arc's burning at the stake is shown in vivid detail in a large painting that covers most of one wall.
The great French writer Voltaire is among the nation's literary figures buried below in the Pantheon's crypt section.
Voltaire's distinguished neighbors include fellow acclaimed writers Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas.
An unexpected bonus at the Pantheon is the chance to see Paris from a walkway outside that circle the dome.

Wow, what views from up here!
Going up there costs a couple bucks more- two euros to be exact.
As we were finishing our visit inside the Pantheon I noticed a line of people being lead into what I thought was an auditorium to see a movie.
I inquired and was told that the people were going up the stairs for the sky views tour.

We gladly paid and were treated to these spectacular views of Paris, from all directions.
We were given about 15 minutes, which was plenty of time to go around the dome's walkway.
I think everyone was excited as we were to see Paris from such a unique and glorious perspective.
The Pantheon visit got our Sunday off to a great start!
I think I've turned Alesia into a shutterbug!  Not long ago I gave her my repaired Canon SX 40, which I thought was ruined forever after an unfortunate fall into the sand during our British Virgin Islands vacation in 2015.

Canon was able to fix it and it's as good as new.  So glad she appreciates it and is putting it to good use during our various outings.
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