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Institut du Monde Arabe

Silver metallic building of the Arab World Institute in Paris

Institut du Monde Arabe

Arab Cultures & Amazing Views of Paris

1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, 75005 Paris

This review may contain sponsored or affiliate links.

Rising up across from the southeastern edge of the Ile Saint-Louis, the Arab World Institute’s imposing facade of glass and steel mashrabiyas doesn’t go unnoticed in the Latin Quarter landscape. Built on the banks of the Seine and inaugurated in 1987, the structure itself is a modern architectural symbol of dialogue between Western culture and the Arab world.

Inside the Institut du Monde Arabe, the museography draws connections between works and objects from fields that are rarely associated: antique and medieval archaeology, craftsmanship, ethnography, contemporary art. The itinerary extends over four floors of the building, starting at the seventh floor and working its way down to the fourth, exploring five different themes: The Emergence of an Identity; From Gods to One God; A Stroll Through an Arab City; The Expression of Beauty; The Body, the Self and Others.

In addition to the permanent collection pieces, the art and culture institute also features frequent temporary exhibitions as well as shows, concerts, and special events. There’s also a vast bookshop dedicated to Arab literature and culture that’s worth the visit.

If you need a little caffeine or perhaps a bite to eat before or after exploring the exhibitions, the institute has three restaurants where you can enjoy Arab cuisine. On the ground floor, the Café Littéraire is the place for a simple tea, coffee, or snack. Up on the 9th floor, two restaurants offer very different dining experiences. The self-service spot Le Moucharabieh lets you grab a quick lunch on-the-go, while the gastronomic Le Zyriab run by Michelin star chef Guy Martin invites you to sit in the rooftop restaurant and enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea or an exceptional meal with a magnificent view.

The roof of the Arab World Institute offers one of the best vantage points in all of Paris, giving you a panoramic view of the rear of Notre Dame, the Ile Saint-Louis, Le Marais, and the river Seine. Open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-6pm, the rooftop terrace is free and open to all, just enter the Institut and take the elevator up to the 9th floor!

Tickets to the museum start at 8€ for adults, with prices subject to change depending on the temporary exhibitions. Last entry 45 minutes before closing time. 


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Métro Ⓜ
  • 1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard
  • 75005 Paris

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