The History of the Pantheon
In 1744 Louis XV
vowed to dedicate a building to St. Genviève whom he credited with
curing him of a recent grave illness.
In 1755 the architect Sufflot started the design, and in 1764
the first stone was laid. The building wasn't completed until 1790 though, and
as Soufflot had died in 1780, it was completed by Rondelet.
Originally built as a church, it is now the last resting place of the great men of France, e.g. Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Rousseau and Zola.
Foucault and his pendulum
The dome is 83 metres high. In 1851 Foucault set up his pendulum experiment here to prove that the earth rotates around its
There is a full-size working model of Foucault's pendulum here (see the
photograph below right) and some audio visual screens explaining it. However
the best way to understand it is just to have a look where the pendulum is when
you enter, then another look when you leave - you will see that the swing of the pendulum has rotated slightly since you entered - proving that the earth does rotate.
The photograph on the left was taken from rue Sufflot.