There’s a delightful surprise in the Latin Quarter, something wildly unexpected and out of the blue — or, rather, the appropriate expression is “out of the Haussmann architecture.” It’s la Grande Mosquée de Paris.
There is a small admission fee, but if you love architecture, this is such a treat. It was built between 1922 and 1926 in the hispano-mauresque style, which features minarets (the tall tower that you will see); horseshoe, crenellated, and lancet arches; courtyards; and detailed tile work. The mosaics were indeed exquisite, and the courtyard garden refreshing. In the springtime, wisteria hangs gently from the vines, and the fountains trickle. For something with an unexpected twist, this really is worth seeing.
Visiting the la Grand Mosquée de Paris
The hours of the mosque are 9h-12h; 14h-18h Saturday through Thursday, and there is no entry on religious holidays. The admission fee is 3€; 2€ reduced price.
It is a few minutes’ walk from the Jardin des Plantes (one of my favorite gardens), and is a great way to end a stroll. Exit the garden at the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution and the mosque will be right in front of you. Entry is the next block over and to the right — you will have to walk a few minutes.
***Be sure to wear clothing that covers your shoulders. Should you forget, there are complimentary scarves for borrowing.***
If, upon finishing your tour, you find yourself in need of refreshment, the mosque has an exquisite restaurant, tea salon, and hammam just across the street. You’ll find traditional treats, dishes (tajines, couscous, and more), and mint tea on offer.
The hammam is available exclusively to women, and is a small paradise where you can partake in a massage, facial, and other wellness treatments. They do not take reservations, so walk in and try your luck.
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