Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
July 31, 2007
On the bank of the Seine is an incredible modern building that houses the Institut du Monde Arabe. The Institut was founded in 1980 by France and 20 Arab countries to foster cultural links between the Islamic world and the West. The building itself was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, and one of the aims of its design was to combine the spirit of traditional Arab architecture with modern materials and technology. One element of this is one side of the building which has an intricate geometrical design of Islamic influence based on moucharabiyahs - carved wooden screens found on the exterior of buildings in many Islamic countries. However, this geometric metal wall is actually made up of panels that are reactive light screens which control the amount of light entering the building. Each panel has 21 irises which open and close dependent on sunshine levels, and so the overall design alters depending on light levels. This feature is quite spectacular!
The building houses several different sections including a library, but there is also a beautiful display of Islamic art work. The display of artwork seems quite unusual to Western eyes because of what the Islamic religion permits to be portrayed, so there is quite an emphasis on geometric designs. There is a wide array of ceramics, sculpture, and rugs.
The top floor of the Institut has two restaurants - Le Ziryab - has panoramic views over the Seine, and a self-service café that with very reasonable prices. My price range meant that Le Ziryab was out of my price range but I tried the self-service café for lunch - which was average - and given that you are in Paris there are better options. Whether or not you eat here, it's possible to come out onto the roof and have great views over the Seine. Back downstairs there is a bookshop and also a shop across the outside courtyard which sells items of Arabic influence. This is an interesting place to visit that may not be on the usual tourist trail but if you want to see something different, then this is a good place to try out. The Institut is open Tuesday- Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Further details can be found on the Institut's website at www.imarabe.org.
From journal Exploring Paris
July 15, 2003
From journal Finding the Maghreb in Paris
brooklyn, New York
June 20, 2000
From journal Paris by Day