Immerse Yourself In Arabic Culture At Paris’ Grand Mosque

Immerse Yourself In Arabic Culture At Paris’ Grand Mosque
Audrey
Audrey 
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Paris is home to France’s first and most elaborate Mosque. Constructed between 1922 and 1926, this site serves as a library, a place of worship, and a restaurant. Upon entering, visitors have the impression of leaving Paris and entering into a Middle Eastern oasis. There is beautiful stonework to admire, a lush garden to relax in, and a delicious restaurant in which to discover new dishes. A visit to the Paris Mosque is like taking a journey to a faraway land, no plane required!

Admire the architecture

Exterior view of mosque

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this site is the architecture. The Mosque was constructed by 450 North African craftsmen and artists in a Moorish style. The high white walls, green tiled roofs, and the 33-meter (108-feet) minaret stand in contrast with the traditional Parisian architecture in the neighborhood. The doors and entryways are adorned with intricate carved designs and Arabic calligraphy. Windows are hidden behind black filigree, creating a mysterious atmosphere.

Marvel at the mosque’s interior

The Great Patio inside the mosque

The mosque’s interior is even more spectacular than its exterior. The Great Patio is the centerpiece of the building. A basin sites in the middle of the patio, surrounded by mosaic stonework. Mosaics in floral designs and geometric shapes can also be found on the walls. An extraordinary 700 pieces of hand-cut and hand-placed stonework occupy each square meter (10 square feet). Cursive lettering complements the mosaics and tells the story of the Paris mosque.

Looking upwards, notice the stucco columns and the precious cedar wood ceiling. However, the ceiling does not completely cover the building. Rather, a pavilion provides protection, while at the same time letting sunlight through.

Learn more about Muslim culture on the self-guided tour

The prayer room

Throughout the Mosque, find posters describing Muslim laws, guiding principles, and prayer procedures. The instruction about the prayer procedures was incredibly interesting, as this is very complex ritual that is not well understood outside of the Muslim world.

For visitors interested in learning even more about Muslim culture, there is a small library filled with books in Arabic, French, and English.

Finally, there is a prayer room. While visitors are not allowed to enter this sacred space, one can observe the room’s main features from doorway. For example, there is a hand-carved dome in the center of the room. A one-of-a-kind chandelier weighing one ton hangs from the dome.

Soak up the garden’s calm atmosphere

Garden inside the mosque

The mosque has a very open design, meaning visitors can easily find their way to the tranquil garden. The garden, like the Great Patio, features impressive mosaics on the walls and on the linings of the fountains. Palm trees and colorful flowers give the impression of being in a tropical garden. Plus, there are plenty of benches and alcoves for those looking to pause and enjoy a calm moment.

Sample traditional Middle-Eastern dishes at the restaurant

Delicious pastries from the restaurant

In addition to the visitor’s center, the mosque also hosts a restaurant. This is one of Paris’ most unique spots and is a great spot to refuel after the visit. Here, find traditional dishes like couscous and tagine at lunch and dinner. In between, pastries are available for snacking. Be sure to try the mint tea. It is served piping hot and is absolutely delicious.

Take a trip to the Middle East without leaving Paris

This visit is incredible in its ability to whisk visitors off to distant lands. Immediately upon entering, visitors forget about the bustling capital city behind them. Beautiful mosaics, tropical gardens, and sumptuous dishes further contribute to this feeling of entering a new world.

The Grand Mosque is located 39 rue Geoffrey St. Hilaire and is accessible via subway line 7, stop Jussieu or Centier-Daubenton. It is open for visits every day, except Fridays, from 9.00 AM to 12.00 PM and from 2.00PM to 4.00 PM. Entrance is 3 EUR (3.20 USD). The restaurant is open from 9.00 AM to 12.00 AM.

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Audrey is a 25-year-old American living in South Korea and teaching English. She lived in Paris for two years as a French language student and au pair. During that time she also mastered the art...Read more

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