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French Heritage Series II: Inside Josephine Baker's Admission to Paris' Pantheon

Gilles Codina

On November 30, French-American civil rights activist, music hall superstar, and Second World War resistance hero Josephine Baker became the first Black woman to enter France’s Panthéon mausoleum of revered historical figures.

A star of stage, screen, and song, a resistance fighter, and a civil rights activist, Josephine Baker took on many roles during her career straddling continents, epochs, and wars. This year, half a century after her death, the American-born icon of the Jazz Age in Paris became sixth woman and the first Black woman to enter the Panthéon. Join us on December 22 for an exclusive tour of the Pantheon, where one of the greatest women in history is now commemorated!

Following the will of Louis XV, the church of Sainte-Genevieve was built in the center of Paris between 1764 and 1790. On 4 April 1791, the Constituent Assembly decided to transform it into a Pantheon. Since then, it has housed the burials of the nation's greats. 

The Centre des monuments nationaux is the leading public cultural and tourist operator with almost 10 million visitors per year. It preserves and opens up to visitors exceptional monuments as well as their parks and gardens, illustrating the richness of France's heritage through their diversity.

Learn more Pantheon and the Centre des monuments nationaux here (in French here). 

French Heritage Series is organized by Atout France and the Museum and Cultural Heritage Department of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.