As a history buff, I had been considering visiting the Pantheon in Paris for a few years. During our last visit to the French capital, we did it.
In this article, I give you a maximum of information to prepare your visit to the Pantheon and tell you how our visit was. All this is accompanied by pictures taken by Amélie.
What is the Pantheon?
Built from 1757 and opened in 1781, the Pantheon is an important Parisian monument in history.
Built in a neoclassical style and located on the Saint-Geneviève mountain, the Pantheon was originally a religious monument. It housed the relics of Sainte-Geneviève. Since the French Revolution, it has lost its religious character and now houses the tombs of famous French men and women.
Regularly, new burials are made, such as those of Simone Veil (in 2018), Maurice Genevoix (in 2020) and Josephine Baker (in 2021).
Where is the Pantheon located?
The exact address of the Pantheon is place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris. This address is in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, south of the Seine.
The Pantheon is in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, close to many other tourist attractions.
How to get to the Pantheon in Paris?
Paris has no shortage of public transportation. Many lines pass near the Pantheon:
- Metro line 10
- RER B
- Bus lines 21, 27, 38, 82, 84, 85 and 89.
If you wish to make the trip by bike, a Vélib’ station (a bike rental company in Paris) is located right next to the Pantheon.
Of course, you can also choose to come to the Pantheon via a cab or Uber.
How busy is the Pantheon?
Attendance is high, but not as high as a museum like the Louvre.
On a weekday in March, we were a few dozen visitors. This allows us to visit the monument without stress and to admire the works of art quietly.
In the summer, the number of visitors increases, but it remains bearable to enjoy a pleasant visit.
How much does it cost to enter the Pantheon?
The Pantheon has an affordable entrance fee.
The full price is €11.50. Between April and October, a supplement of €3.50 allows you to visit the upper parts of the building. Audio tours are also available.
Many situations allow you to benefit from a reduced rate or even free admission: group visits, under 26 years old, disabled, unemployed…
Don’t hesitate to buy your ticket in advance. Depending on whether you already have your ticket, you will not be in the same queue as others and will enter the Pantheon faster.
What are the opening hours of the Pantheon?
The opening hours of the Pantheon are
- From October 1er to March 31: 10a.m. to 6p.m.
- From April 1er to September 30: 10a.m. to 6:30p.m.
The Pantheon is open every day of the week. The latest entry is possible until 45 minutes before the monument closes.
It is closed only a few days a year: 1er January, 1er May, 25 December and, since we are in France, on certain strike days.
How long does the visit to the Pantheon last?
Taking our time without lingering several minutes in front of each painting, we took a little over an hour to visit.
So, I recommend staying between 45 minutes and 1h30 at the Pantheon. This estimate does not take into account the waiting time to enter the monument. For our visit, it was short (about 10 minutes).
Our visit to the Pantheon
The arrival at the Pantheon
We arrived about 15 minutes after the opening. The Place du Panthéon is not the prettiest place in Paris, but it is ideal to look at the building as a whole and to photograph it.
Once the metal fence is crossed, cords placed by employees create several queues: for people without tickets, for people with tickets and for groups.
With few visitors ahead of us, the wait was short.
The first level of the Pantheon
The first level is very similar to what we have seen in the basilicas in Rome. With a beautiful high ceiling, large spaces, a feeling of calm, you walk quietly to admire the works of art. Without being numerous, they remain multiple and varied.
Start by admiring the nave and its large columns in the Corinthian style. The sculpture that catches the eye is “La Convention Nationale” created by Sicard in 1924. Magnificent, it represents the French political regime born after the Revolution.
In the middle of the Pantheon is the Foucault Pendulum. This device installed in the 19th century allows him to prove that the Earth turns. A panel explains it better than me.
Large frescoes are on the walls. As Orleanians, we quickly recognized Joan of Arc, also called “La Pucelle d’Orléans”.
Other important periods of French history are visible in paintings and sculptures. But, overall, the period of the Revolution and the few years that followed are the most highlighted in the Pantheon.
The crypt of the Pantheon
If the decoration of the Pantheon is majestic, visitors come to see the crypt. When the military Pantheon of the Invalides welcomes the bodies of military heroes such as Napoleon, the Pantheon does the same with civilians.
In the fore-crypt, you discover the tombs of Voltaire and Rousseau. Then, continuing, many famous people are present: Victor Hugo, Jean Moulin, Jean Zay, Alexandre Dumas, Pierre and Marie Curie…
For history buffs, several dignitaries from the Napoleonic era are also in the crypt.
You can approach all the tombs, except those of the Carnot family (Sadi and Lazare) which are very decorated and only visible from a few meters away.
The visit is free, but terminals are placed in front of the rooms housing the tombs (between 1 and 5 tombs per room). These tactile terminals are an excellent idea. While browsing the menu, you will discover short biographies of the people present. These terminals are multilingual.
In addition to the tombs, some of the walls of the crypt contain information about the Pantheon.
Our opinion on the Pantheon
We really liked the Pantheon. If we are not great connoisseurs of art, we love the basilicas. Their history and the art inside make them fascinating to visit. In fact, the best visit of my life is still the discovery of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome…
The interior of the Pantheon is much less rich. The building is large, but not huge. Moreover, if the art is present, the luxury is reduced. After the Revolution, displaying the tastes of a king with gold on all the walls would have been unwelcome.
Nevertheless, admiring the sculptures and paintings is a pleasant moment. Take the time to read the descriptions of the frescoes and to recognize the people who have made the history of France.
The crypt is not to be admired as art. However, I like to pay homage to people who have been important for the culture of my country. Don’t walk through the crypt quickly as if the purpose of the visit was only to go in front of each tomb.
With Amélie, we were among the few people to consult the terminals containing the biographies.
Once you leave the building, look at the exterior architecture. If you are an amateur, you will appreciate it.
This instructive visit is part of our good visits in Paris (and they are not that numerous!).
Mythical, imposing, full of history, the Pantheon is a major monument of France. Do not hesitate to plan a visit during your next visit to Paris.
What to do around the Pantheon?
Many museums and monuments can be seen within 3 km of the Pantheon.
Without being exhaustive, I can mention:
- The Menagerie of the Zoo des Plantes
- The Great Gallery of Evolution
- The National Museum of the Middle Ages
- The Curie Museum
- Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral
- The Sainte-Chapelle
- The Louvre
- The Orsay Museum
The choice is considerable. By staying in a hotel near the Pantheon, several days of walking tours of Paris are possible!