Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Voltaire and Rousseau

On Saturday July 31st I went to a crypt, a place where many famous and important people´s bodies are. This place, the Pantheon, was a large building originally built as a church by the King of France. This King was sick and prayed to god promising to build this church if he survived his illness, which he did.

It took a long time to build however and was constantly switched back and forth from a church and something else, often a memorial to the French Revolution. It was huge and the roof weighed a lot. I was quite amazed at how such a building could have been built with none of the moderen equipment we have now. None the less the weight of the roof has been an ongoing issue with the building.

The building also had a pendalum that swung in such a way that it prooved the earth was round. This undermined the church in a way and in order to regain support the pendolum was removed, but has since been returned. On the top of the building there were great views of Paris and underneath is where all the tombs of famous people's bodies are.

There were 3 rules to have a tomb in this crypt: you must be French, you must have written something great and your body must be able to be recovered. The most familiar to me were Voltaire and Rousseau, both of whom I studied in philosophy. Their tombs are facing each other even though while living they didn't really get along.

This is the outside of the Pantheon.

This is the inside, a look at the walls and ceiling.

Notre Dame, a litte more breath taking seeing all of it from a distance.

And of course the Eiffel tower in the distance.

Later in the day, in what seemed to be a Parisian tradition we had some drinks down by the river.

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