Paris of Louis XV Pantheon to Odeon PDF Print E-mail

Paris Art Studies


Pantheon- Sainte Genevieve


1744 – Louis XV is gravely ill in Metz while on campaign during the war of the Austrian succession. He vows to build a great church if cured.

1755 – The Superintendant of the King’s buildings the Marquis de Marigny (brother of Mme de Pompadour) commissions the architect Jean-Germain Soufflot to build a new church dedicated to the Saint patron of Paris on the site of the crumbling medieval abbey on top of the Montagne Ste Geneviève.

1758 – Work begins on the foundations.

1764 – Louis XV lays first stone in front of a great painted canvas of the future temple portico.

1770 – Rumors spread in Paris about the possible collapse of Soufflot’s dome supported by light arches and slender columns. Construction slows down due to financial problems.

1780 – Death of Soufflot. He is replaced by his assistants Jean-Baptiste Rondelet and Maximilien Brébion.

1790 – The church is finally finished.

1791 – The revolutionary National Assembly, following the proposal of the deputy Emmanuel Pastoret, decides to transform the newly finished church into a mausoleum for great Frenchmen (in imitation of the British tradition at Westminster abbey).

1791-93 – The building is transformed into a “Pantheon” by architect Quatremère de Quincy.

1806 – Under Napoleon the crypt is used for the burial of dignitaries and officers and the ground floor for religious services.

1816 – Under the Bourbon Restoration the building is turned back into a fully functioning catholic church, all non-religious elements are removed.

1821 – The tombs of Voltaire and Rousseau are moved and hidden from public view.

1830 – Under the July monarchy of Louis Philippe the church becomes again a Pantheon. David d’Angers sculpts the new pediment dedicated to “Great Men from a Grateful Nation” (“aux grands homes, la patrie reconnaissante”.

1851 – Under the Second empire of Napoleon III the building is turned again into a church, masses are held in it from 1852.

1885 – Under the Third Republic, after Victor Hugo’s funeral and burial, the building turns again into a Pantheon and all religious ceremonies cease.


Faculté de Droit

(Law School) 1771-1793 by Jean Germain Soufflot (1713-1780)


Odéon Theater


1767 – Marquis de Marigny, superintendent of the King’s Buildings commissions Marie-Joseph Peyre (1730-85) and Chales de Wailly (1730-98) to present a project for a new theater for the royal troupe, the Comédie Française.

1770  – The site of the garden of the residence of the Prince de Condé is chosen for the new theater (the Prince wants to move to the Palais Bourbon).

1778 – Peyre and Wailly’s project is retained despite vivid competition from other architects. The two architects are favored by the King’s brother, Monsieur, and the new Superintendent of the Buildings the count d’Angivilliers. The site is moved closer to Monsieur’s residence, the Palais de Luxembourg.

1779 – Building begins. The theater is designed to be the focal point of a new neighborhood with three straight new streets leading to a piazza laid out in front of the building.

1782 – Inauguration of the theater.

1784 – Première of Beaumarchais’ “Marriage of Figaro” attended by Queen Marie Antoinette.

1789 – Under the Revolution the theater is renamed “Théâtre de la Nation”.

1791 – Rift between actors loyal to the King and their revolutionary colleagues over the production of the radical playwright’s André Chenier’s “Charles XI”. The royalists led by the tragedian Talma leave and found a new theater at the Palais Royal.

1794 – Renamed Théâtre de l’Egalité.

1796 – Final renaming by the new director poupart de Dorgeuille as an “Odéon” in the spirit of antiquity fashionable at the time.

1799 – Original theater burns down. The remaining actors leave for the Palais Royal.

1808-18 – Rebuilding of theater by Chalgrin.

1818 – Second fire.

1819 – Second rebuilding by Baraguay.


Ecole de Chirurgie (School of Surgery)


1769 – Jacques Gondoin (1737-1818) is given the commission to build a new school for surgery in Paris by recommendation of the royal surgeon Germain Pichault de la Martinière.

1774 – Louis XVI lays first stone of temple portico in courtyard.

1786 – The building is completed.

1878-1900 – Additions on either side and behind the original building to boulevard St Germain by Léon Ginain.

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