Thursday, November 13, 2014

Black Pantheon

Paris' Pantheon is a landmark site in the 5th arrondissement that we have included on two of our most popular Entrée to Black Paris walks. It sits at the top of rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève (Saint Genevieve's mountain), only a few hundred meters away from the Luxembourg Garden.

Pantheon viewed from the Luxembourg Garden
© Discover Paris!

From a "black Paris" perspective, the Pantheon has many interesting features:

It is the final resting place of two men of African descent - Alexandre Dumas, père and Félix Eboué. Information boards on both men can be found in the crypt.

Dumas' remains were relocated there with much pomp and ceremony in 2002.

Pantheon in red, white, and blue for the interment of Alexandre Dumas
© Discover Paris!

Three black men are honored by inscriptions in the crypt - Toussaint L'Ouverture, Louis Delgres, and Aimé Césaire.

Inscription in honor of Toussaint l'Ouverture
© Discover Paris!

L'Ouverture's inscription reads:

IN MEMORY OF TOUSSAINT LOUVERTURE
Freedom Fighter - Artisan of the abolition of slavery
Haitian Hero - Died in deportation at Fort-de-Joux in 1803

There are images of blacks in the Alexandre Cabanel mural depicting the life of Saint Louis found inside the building.

The Life of Saint Louis (detail)
1874-1877 Alexandre Cabanel
© Discover Paris!

While its interior is not the most beautiful, the Pantheon was spectacularly transformed for the ceremonial events held in honor of Aimé Césaire after his death in 2008.

Homage to Aimé Césaire
© Discover Paris!

Black French have contributed to the current renovation of the monument. Their photos are displayed on the north gate along with those of several other donors.

Four contributors to the Pantheon restoration
© Discover Paris!

The Pantheon remains open during its restoration. It is located at:
Place du Panthéon
75005 Paris
Telephone: 01 44 32 18 00
Closest public transporation: RER B - Luxembourg
Entry fee: 7.50 euros; 4.50 euros for non-EU persons between the ages of 18-25

Pantheon dome under restoration
© Discover Paris!

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2 comments:

Robbia said...

Thank you for sharing information regarding the Black Pantheon. My husband and I did see the outside of the Pantheon while visiting Paris in 2013, but we were NOT told of its African/Black exhibits and inscriptions. I love your blog for being so informative!

About Beauford Delaney said...

Thanks for commenting, Robbia. I'm very pleased that you're finding the blog so useful!