If you’ve strolled the streets of the Latin Quarter recently, you may have noticed that the Panthéon—the neoclassical landmark that serves as a “resting place for France’s great men” (and now a few women)—is covered in scaffolding. Battered by the elements, the monument was in dire need of repairs. Hence the Centre des Monuments Nationaux has embarked on a major restoration, billed as one of the largest projects in Europe. The self-supporting scaffolding system, that surrounds the Panthéon without touching it, is alone a major engineering feat.
During the travaux, the monument is still open to the public. But that’s not the only good news.
Acclaimed street artist JR is taking over the Panthéon with a participatory art project inspired by “Inside Out.” He’ll be plastering the dome with portraits of anonymous folks, an invitation for le peuple “to enter the temple devoted to illustrious men.” If you’re in France, get your picture taken!
JR’s photo booth truck is making the rounds at eight French national monuments (including Carcassonne, the Château d’Angers, and Palais du Tau in Reims), concluding at the Panthéon on March 29. It’s also possible to upload your photo directly to the site.