Institut du Monde Arabe
Another Jean Nouvel-designed Parisian institution (he also designed the Fondation Cartier and Musée du Quai Branly), the Institut du Monde Arabe aims to research and present the continuing value of Arabic culture. Reflecting in particular on Paris’ Arabic community and historical affiliation, it presents the unique fusion of ancient culture displayed in the most modern of environments.
Using 240 motor-controlled apertures that open and close hourly, the museum curators control the amount of natural light that enters the building, in what is a fabulous progressive and contemporary design feature. The filtered light effects on the Islamic architecture really accents and contextualises the work on show.
A particular highlight of the permanent collection is the 10cm clay figure of a mother goddess, found in Jordan. With her swollen belly, the figure is a universal symbol of fertility and a descendant of France’s Lespugue Venus, which is 25,000 years old.
Alongside the museum, the institute also houses a great library, offices and an auditorium.
The panoramic restaurant Le Zyriab, by world famous chef Noura, is on the 9th floor of the museum. It’s a sleek an harmonious space, with soothing light filtering in through the large windows and showcasing breathtaking views of La Bastille, Montmartre and Notre Dame. Cocktails, lunch, and dinner are to be enjoyed here at this Parisian favourite for Lebanese cuisine.
Reservations: +33 (0) 1 55 425 542
Tuesday – Saturday 11.00 – 23.30
Sunday Lunch (by reservation only)
The self service restaurant Le Moucharabieh, also run by chef Noura, is perfect for a quick lunch or a traditional mezze.
Tuesday – Sunday 11.30 – 15.00
Another simpler spot for a gourmet break, Café Litteraire offers some fabulous mint tea and oriental pastries that you can enjoy in the brightly coloured Café or take away with you.
The shop offers books, souvenirs, and insight into the Arab world with high-quality exhibition catalogues and books on photography, architecture, and craftsmanship. Take a journey through Middle-Eastern culture by going to one of the regular book signings with upcoming Arab writers. We also highly recommend exploring the on site replica Medina, selling everything from oriental rugs to henna and kohl.
Institut du Monde Arabe
1 rue Fosses St Bernard
+33 (0) 1 40 51 38 38
Tuesday – Thursday 10.00 – 18.00
Friday 10.00 – 21.30
Saturday – Sunday 10.00 – 19.00
Metro: Jussieu (M7, M10), Cardinal Lemoine (M10), Sully-Morlan (M7)