Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Panthéon

Today we visited the Panthéon, the so-called French "temple of the nation."  Originally constructed as a church by Louis XV in honor of Saint Geneviève, this basilica was transformed during the French Revolution into a mausoleum for leading French citizens.  The inscription above the entrance reads, "Aux Grands Hommes, la Patrie Reconnaissante" (To great men, the grateful homeland); indeed, the Panthéon currently pays homage to just one woman, Marie Curie, although next spring two more women are slated for inclusion.  Our class visited the Panthéon in conjunction with our study of the French Resistance, in particular to see the memorialization of Jean Moulin in the crypt.  Moulin's ashes were transferred from Père Lachaise to the Panthéon in 1964 as part of a ceremony made famous by André Malraux's speech, in which Malraux cried out to his fellow French Resistance fighter, "Enter here, accompanied by a people born of the shadow and who disappeared with that shadow – our brothers in the Order of the Night."  (We read the speech, which can be screened at http://www.ina.fr/video/CAF89027428.)

Jean Moulin
Malraux's address upon Moulin's entrance into the Panthéon


Inscription in Crypt
The Crypt

Outside the Panthéon

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