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Le Panthéon: where France’s great men (and one woman) rest in peace.

Le Panthéon: where France’s great men (and one woman) rest in peace.

Le Panthéon, Soufflot’s masterpiece, was ordered by King Louis XV as a dedication to Sainte Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris. The king attributed his recovery from illness to prayers made to Sainte Geneviève. He set the first stone in the ground in 1764. In 1791 the basilica was turned into the national Pantheon, but was still used as a place of Christian worship during the 19th century. It wasn’t until 1885, on the occasion of Victor Hugo’s funeral, that the Pantheon became a secular place for good, devoted to the memory of the nation’s great men.

The tour of the crypt where Hugo rests (along with Voltaire, Rousseau, Dumas & Marie Curie to name a few) is accessible through the back of the Panthéon. For a sweeping view of Paris climb the stairs to the external colonnade at the base of the dome (access by guided tour only, from April to October, at 2.30pm and 4pm).

After touring the dome, staring at Foucault’s pendulum or wandering the many galleries in the crypt, you can head for a drink at Le Rostand just a few blocks away towards the Jardins du Luxembourg.

Le Panthéon
Place du Panthéon
75005 Paris
tel: 01.44.32.18.00/01
Metro: Maubert-Mutualité, Cardinal-Lemoine
RER: Luxembourg

7/7
April 1-Sept. 30: 10am-6.30pm
Oct. 1-March 31: 10am-6pm
(Ticket window closes 45 min before closing time)
Closed on January 1, May 1, November 11, December 25.

Le Rostand in Paris: a superb terrasse facing the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Le Rostand in Paris: a superb terrasse facing the Jardin du Luxembourg.

You might have seen the restaurant/café Le Rostand in Paris Je t’aime, with Gena Rowlands and Bob Hoskins being served by Gerard Depardieu. When it isn’t used as a movie set Le Rostand has a wonderful terrasse facing the gorgeous Jardin du Luxembourg. Le Rostand is a perfect spot for sipping champagne and eating olives in the afternoon sun, or indulging in a hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream and a sweet crêpe, say for example, after visiting Le Panthéon.

Le Rostand
6 place Edmond Rostand
75006 Paris
tel: 01.43.54.61.58
Metro: Cluny
RER: Luxembourg

7/7
M-Sun: 8am-2am