16 years ago, a group of enthusiasts secretly lived in the Pantheon overnight to repair its clock, which had been broken down for 50 years.

They repaired a Wagner clock

Its name sounds German, but it is not: Untergunther is a purely invented word, meaningless. It designates a clandestine group, based in Paris, which aims to “restore the invisible parts of heritage“. For a year, from September 2005 to September 2006, this group of urban exploration enthusiasts and budding restorers, entered the Pantheon daily, outside of opening hours. They then repair a Wagner clock, which dates from the 19th century but has not worked since the 1960s.

the pantheon paris
The Pantheon of Paris

A mini lounge

But how did they manage to stay the night in the Pantheon ? They simply allowed themselves to be locked in the vast building. Then they redid the keys, which the guards usually hang up in front of the desk at reception ! The members of Untergunther then settled in the Pantheon. For a year, these infiltration specialists hided in the circular gallery located at the base of the dome, on the rue Soufflot side. In this vaulted space, whose loopholes offer a sublime view of the city, they have brought their equipment and fitted out a mini lounge: wooden armchairs that can be folded into boxes, dining table, electric hob, etc. They spent their evenings and their free time there after work. Once their repair has been completed, they notify the administrator of the Pantheon. They are being prosecuted by the administration of the Center des Monuments Nationaux (CMN). The case is dismissed and the Ministry of Culture then recognizes the fairness of the repair. However, the clock is abandoned and stops running again.

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