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Monday, November 26, 2012

[Pantheon] The right place to see an evidence of the Rotation of the Earth and the Crypt of the French National Heroes

Panthéon (of Paris) is a great place to see an evidence that the earth rotates about 365.2425 times a year, i.e. once every 24 hours. :)
It is the same place where you can also see the burial places of some great people you must have read the biographies about, only if you like visiting crypts, cemeteries, or necropolis, which I do.

Originally built in the eighteenth century for a church dedicated to St. Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox tradition, Panthéon is served to honour great figures who marked the history of France.

In 1744,  Louis XV who was suffering from a serious illness, vowed, to erect a church dedicated to St. Geneviève,if he survives. When he was recovered,  Louis XV ordered the Marquis de Marigny, Director General of buildings, to build the monument instead of the old abbey of Sainte-Genevieve, then ruined church. 

Located in the 5th arrondissement(administrative districts of Paris) on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève ( "Sainte-Geneviève mountain" in English), the Panthéon looks out over all of Paris.

(Pablo clinging on a Pantheon pillar. Photo taken with wide-angle lens)

 You will understand why Leon Foucault chose Pantheon to demonstrate his experiment, when you see the so-tall ceiling of the building.

(Interior Dome of the Panthéon)

(Interior of Dome from a different angle)

(Sainte Geneviève(Nanterre, c. 419/422 – Paris 502/512), the patron saint of Paris.)

This building was originally built to house the reliquary châsse containing the relics of Sainte Geneviève.

The triple dome of Panthéon is even grander from inside.
And at the centre of the dome, you can see the fameuse Foucault Pendulum.

You must have heard of The Foucault[/foo-koh/] pendulum even if you didn't know what it exactly was.
Foucault pendulum, named after the French physicist Jean Bernard Léon Foucault, is an experiment designed to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth.

 In 1851, physicist Léon Foucault looking for a tall building to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth. The Pantheon, civil place, seemed entirely appropriate.  Then, on March 31, 1851, Foucault used Pantheon for an experiment to demonstrate the rotation of the earth. A pendulum of 67 meters long attached to the centre of the dome , which swayed in the dome. 

The original sphere from the pendulum has been displayed at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, and a copy is now displayed at the Panthéon. The original sphere was temporarily displayed at the Panthéon in the 1990s (starting in 1995) during renovations at the Musée des Arts et Métiers. It's amazing to see the pendulum non-stop swaying, even though you already know that the earth rotates once a day :)

When Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, count of Mirabeau, French revolutionary, as well as a writer, diplomat, journalist and French stateman, died on April 2, 1791, France began to think to bury great men in Pantheon to acknolowdge the honour the country received from them.

The "Pantheon-isation" had been a tradition of the Egyptians, then Greeks and Romans. Pantheonisation is to give a great man the ultimate tribute to 'great man' of the French nation. Therefore, interment here is severely restricted to "French" great men.

In 1791, at the time of the creation of the concept of the French Pantheon, it was the national Assembly to decide whom to pantheonise. During the First Empire, Napoleon took over this privilege.

At present, the President of France chooses whom to pantheonise, however the family may object to this honour: the son of Albert Camus objected the pantheonisation of his father in 2009. 

Do you want to see some great Frenchmen buried at Panthéon?

Here go the ones I personally recognize. I do not doubt each of these great men pantheonised is a great personnel who honoured the country.

Voltaire: Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher (1694-1778)

Victor Hugo: French poet, novelist, and dramatist
Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame were among his notable work.

We visited his museum at Place des Vosges. You can see the post here.

Pierre Curie: French physicist, a pioneer in crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity and radioactivity.
Both Pierre and his wife Marie Curie were enshrined in the crypt in April 1995.

There must be a lot of visitors from Poland, the native country of the double-Nobel prize winner. 

Marie Curie was the second woman to be buried in the Panthéon, but the first honored for her own merits, her contributions to science.

Emile Zola:  French writer. 

He was considered the leader of naturalism and one of the most popular French novelists, most published, translated and commented on in the world. 

He was a major figure in the political liberalization of France.
The last years of his life were marked by his involvement in the Dreyfus affair with the publication in January 1898, in the newspaper L'Aurore, the article titled "J'accuse" which won a lawsuit for defamation and exile in London in the same year.

Remi was busy taking photos, as usual.

Pablo was not much interested in the French great men, so far.
He distracted me, almost constantly.

On the wall of the nave are some inscriptions on writers who marked the history of France in their struggle and their ideas, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was one of them.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: Poet, novelist, aviator, disappeared during a reconnaissance mission July 31, 1944.

Remi got so interested in the story how he disappeared. That was why he picked The Little Prince for his English class presentation.

The way out to the hall from the necropolis, i.e. the end of the visit.

Remi and Pablo's favorite part of visit is buying a special coin at each monument.

This is that collectible coin Remi and Pablo collected eagerly.

The view of Panthéon from the Rue Soufflot.
I must have tilted the camera :(
Anyway, if you love necropolis/crypt, and/or are curious of Foucault's pendulum, you must see the outside and interior of this wonderful monument.

You can see more posts about my trip to France if you click the links below:

1) [Auberge Ravoux] Van Gogh's last residence in Auvers-sur-Oise
2) [Basilique Saint-Denis] French Royal Necropolis - The burial place of the French Kings
3) [2012 Maffliers] Kids grow fast... and we age faster...?
4) [Chateau de Chantilly] Le musée Condé - The generosity of a royal prince
5) [Balade gourmande] Brittany by sail: Unforgettable day on a traditional boat in Cancale
6) [Must eat foods in France] You must try these ten inexpensive food in France
7) [Four Representative Architectures in Paris] The most visited edifices in Europe - Part I
8) [Four Representative Architectures in Paris] Notre Dame de Paris - Part II
9) [Four Representative Architectures in Paris Part III] Musee de Louvre or simply Louvre
10) [Opera Garnier] The symbol of Elegance at the centre of Paris
11) [Mont Saint-Michel] Picturesque UNESCO Hertiage site in Normandy
12) [Place des Vosges] A Perfect Symmetrical Square in Paris
13) [Roland Garros] Visiting the glorious French Open venue
15) [Musee Rodin] How to enjoy masterpieces of the great artist, with 1€

Panthéon, Paris


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