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A mere two block walk

A mere two block walk up the hill from Place Maubert took us to St. Etienne du Mont and the Pantheon. St. Etienne, shown on the left, was begun in 1492 and mostly completed by 1655. It houses some of the remains of St. Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, who led the fight against Attila the Hun in 512. We entered the church from the cloudy outside, but moments later the sun came out, streaking across the side aisle of the church as you see. St. Etienne probably has the most intricate detail of any church we've seen, and because its' stained glass is light in color, it has a wonderfull light, airy feel quite unlike other Paris churches. Crossing the street outside, we entered the Pantheon, which was originally constructed as a church, but was converted to a civic building in 1885 when Victor Hugo's remains were entombed there. It continues as a national monument containing the tombs of many of France's greatest citizens, including Voltaire, Rousseau, Zola and Louis Braille in the crypt on the lower level. The most fascinating part though, is Foucault's pendulum, showing the rotation of the earth. The pendulum is within a ring whose numbers correspond to the time of day. You can see we were there at 15:30 pm Paris time. There's a great video showing how a piece was cut from the center of the dome and replaced with a structure from which the pendulum hung on a wire, down close to the floor as the photo on the right shows. Once the wire length and placement of the pendulum, held to one side by string, were all correct,
the string was burned through with a candle to set the pendulum swinging. And it just continues to swing.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 26, 2001 5:27 PM.

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