The foundation stone of the Paris Panthéon was layed in 1764, as the future building was intended to become a church dedicated to St Geneviève, the patron of the city. But its use frequently changed in the course of its history, switching several times from a religious building to a monument dedicated to the memory of great French figures.
The Panthéon had been re-established as a church for some 20 years when the uprising of the Paris Commune broke out, returning it to secular use. On March 31, 1871, three days after the election of the Commune by the Parisians, the red flag was flown on the building. On April 2, the arms of the upper cross were sawed off, the flag affixed to the top and saluted by guns in the square.
The caption reads in the original French:
Paris pendant la Commune. — Le drapeau rouge sur le Panthéon.
Histoire de la révolution de 1870-71 was first published as a series of fascicles by L’Éclipse, a weekly newspaper owned by François Polo. Polo published the text in book format some time later at Librairie Polo, which he also founded.