Necropolis for the atheist citizens of France, the Panthéon shelters the remains of luminaries such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Zola, Louis Braille, Jean Jaurès and the Resistance martyr Jean Moulin, as well as a shrine containing the heart of left-wing hero Léon-Michel Gambetta. Originally commissioned by Louis XV in 1744, the Panthéon was only completed at the Revolution.
By that time its architect, Soufflot, had died and his neoclassical edifice, based on the form of a Greek cross, was subsequently finished by one of his students 10 years after his death. In 1791, its windows were bricked up and its function changed from that of church to Temple of Fame. In 1185, it again changed to become the lay temple it remains today.
The austerity of this monument is slightly alleviated by late 19th century paintings, the most famous being those by the Symbolist Puvis de Chavannes, depicting the life of Saint Geneviève.




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