The inscription above the entrance reads AUX GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE ( "To great men, the grateful homeland")
I was so impressed, I had to take some photos for you too, which I hope encourages you to visit this beautiful and thought-provoking place!
Unfortunately, the incredible triple dome with each shell fitted within the others was under restoration and completely obscured by decorative covers inside and out.
In 1780, Soufflot died and was replaced by his student Jean-Batiste Rondelet. The remodeled St. Genevieve was finally completed in 1790, unfortunately coinciding with the early stages of the French Revolution.
While a compromise between church and state has finally been worked out over time, the Pantheon you visit today definitely feels like the resting place of the citizens who were the great thinkers, artists, philosophers and statesmen of France.
The necropolis is a Labyrinth of vaulted stone corridors where small alcoves hold the remains of these illustrious people.
Voltaire: A satirical writer, historian and philosopher of the French Enlightenment. He believed in freedom of religion, expression, and the separation of church and state.
Rousseau: Writer and composer who influenced the French Revolution. He wrote about political, social and educational issues.
Victor Hugo: Poet, novelist and dramatist of the Romantic Movement. He wrote novels such as Les Miserables and the Hunchback of Notre-Dame.
Alexander Dumas: Writer who wrote novels such as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Montecristo.
Marie Curie: Known as “Madam Curie”, Scientist and Nobel Prize winner who pioneered research in radioactivity.
These are just a few of the many "Illuminati" interred in the impressive Pantheon.