Should you leave place de la Contrescarpe by rue Descartes and take a left on rue Clovis, or should you take a right place de l’Estrapade on rue Clotilde, you’d get to the same point. It’s only natural, since Clotilde was king Clovis wife. It’s on top of the hill, place du Panthéon. Here is a view from rue Clotilde :
The building of Panthéon was decided by king Louis XV to replace the ruined church of Sainte Geneviève and architect Jacques Germain Soufflot had its foundations laid in 1758. But it was completed only in 1789, after Soufflot’s death, and French Revolution had begun : this was no longer going to be a church, but a mausoleum for great Frenchmen.
Here is Voltaire‘s grave and statue in the crypt.
The name “Pantheon” comes from Greek “all the gods”, and on the building’s pediment you can read : “Aux grands hommes la patrie reconnaissante”. It’s a major example of neo classical style.
The view from Pantheon’s steps on rue Soufflot going down to Luxembourg garden and Eiffel Tower in the distance:
Next to the Panthéon, on its right, a beautiful eighteen century house : l’hôtel des grands hommes.
It’s name refers of course to to great men buried opposite, but also to some of its customers. André Breton and Philippe Soupault stayed there testing “automatic writing” and “les Champs Magnétiques” were written here . Besides, its a still a nice place to stay.
Behind Pantheon, on the left, an actual church : l’église Saint-Etienne du Mont.
It’s a spectacular composite building, mixed of flamboyant gothic and early baroque style, and it’s really worth coming in.
It has a magnificent mid sixteen century jube:
and beautiful stained glass windows, as well as one of the most ancient organs.
And from Saint-Etienne du Mont, you can start coming down.
And going down Montagne Sainte-Geneviève why not stop for a glass of wine, and may be some oysters at “Les Pipos“.
It’s a sympathetic genuine place which interior setting hasn’t change for ages.
Les Pipos : 2 rue de l’école polytechnique 75005 Paris, tel 33(0) 1 43 54 11 40 , closed on Sunday. Virtual visit on http://www.les-pipos.com/
Hôtel des Grands Hommes : 17 place du Panthéon 75005 Paris, tel 33(0)1 46 34 19 60, for prices, reservation and more information : http://www.hoteldesgrandshommes.com/index-fr.html
Panthéon : open everyday 10 to 18 (last visit 17h15) price 7euros 50, tel 33(0)1 44 32 18 00 or 33(0)1 44 32 18 01. For a virtual visit, and more information : http://pantheon.monuments-nationaux.fr/
The nearest subway station to place du Panthéon : RER B Luxembourg