Begun in 1764 as a church honoring Saint Geneviève, the Pantheon was completed in 1790 during the revolution – when churches were not particularly valued – and became a sort of shrine to secular intellectualism where a number of France’s revered thinkers were put to rest.It glows in the evening light, an anonymous temple that doesn’t clearly indicate whether it is dedicated to the power of God or the works of mankind.
I find it bland and am much more interested in the nearby tower of the Gothic/Renaissance Church of St. Etienne du Mont. It is a far more intriguing structure with an incredibly odd mix of elements!
I can only imagine that construction must have occurred over a very long period of time, of in fits and starts, or under completely different guiding visions. It seems like a building that must have a very interesting history in order to arrive looking like it does at this particular point in time.
I wonder what it is like inside, but evening services are just letting out and it seems an awkward time to enter. (We should have – we didn’t realize it at the time, but this was another church Jeff recommended and it has a stunning interior. I am eager to see it the next time I am in Paris.)
But now it is time to head back to the hotel for the night. Although the bars and restaurants along the way are inviting, it has been a long first day in Paris.