The Panthéon

Transient

The rain eventually stopped for a moment following our lunch at Café du Rendez-Vous, so we decided to head to the Panthéon in the Latin Quarter and return to the catacombs later.

The Panthéon, which was built as a church, is  now a monument/mausoleum for national figures, including Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Alexandre Dumas, and other highly influential French citizens. In fact, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author of The Little Prince (one of my favorite books), is commemorated on a wall on the main floor of the Panthéon.

The inscription: "To the memory of Antoine de Saint Exupery, poet, novelist, aviator, missing during an aerial reconnaissance mission, 31 July 1944"

The inscription: "To the memory of Antoine de Saint Exupery, poet, novelist, aviator, missing during an aerial reconnaissance mission, 31 July 1944"

During our visit, the Panthéon had a special exhibit about Jean-Jaques Rousseau -- an 18th-century writer, philosopher, and composer. Various essays and musical compositions were on display, as well as other artists' paintings of Rousseau. After going through the exhibit, I felt a little overwhelmed and confused by Rousseau's criticisms and compositions. He seemed to be all over the place with his philosophies, critiques, and experimental music. But I realize that Rousseau was instrumental in developing a foundation for modern social and political thought. And I suppose if you're going to influence the way people think, you have to think about EVERYTHING. Anyway...

I was astonished by the architecture of the Panthéon, but one of the main features is the Foucault pendulum in the center of the building, with its lead bob hanging from the Panthéon's central dome. It's completely hypnotizing to watch the bob swing back and forth, and without the rush of tourists all around, one could probably stare at the swinging bob for a pendulum day (which is 32.7 hours). [Note: That was nerdy hyperbole.]

Below is an animated GIF I made of the pendulum in the center of the Panthéon. I made quite a few GIFs while in Paris, which I'll try to remember to post.

Transient