Saturday 25 January 2014

Alternate Paris

It's not Fez or Muscat, but Paris. The Grande Mosquée de Paris is a peaceful haven in the centre of the city that I discovered in the autumn. It has the fountain and tree-filled inner courtyard and brilliantly coloured mosaics of typical Moorish architecture (its builders inspired by the Alhambra), and there's also a tearoom in a pretty tree-shaded courtyard where you can have thé à la menthe and North African pastries.

From here it was an easy walk towards the Seine, through the Jardin des Plantes, past the quaint Natural History Museum going back to the French revolution ...

to the contrasting modernity of the Institut du Monde Arabe

for a close-up view of architect Jean Nouvel's amazing building: 
a metallic brise soleil is constructed of hundreds of light-sensitive openings - the shapes inspired by traditional middle eastern latticework façades - that regulate the amount of light entering the building. 

These 'eyes' open and shut in response to the amount of sunlight, creating and re-creating shifting geometric patterns on the outside, as well as changing interior spaces with filtered light - function and aesthetics merging perfectly. (I noticed only later, looking at the photos, how the paving stones on the ground mimic the façade).

From the terrace surrounding the glassed panoramic restaurant on the roof of the Institut there are fantastic views of the Île de la Cité and Île Saint Louis


  1. Karen, you are feeding my travel thirst with these beautiful posts. I loved seeing your alternate Parisian views, particularly those magnificent photographs of the tiles. Oh those colors and patterns are superb!

    It's been so long since I visited Paris. Perhaps I will add this destination to my 2014 resolutions. Thank you so much for encouraging these thoughts.


  2. Lovely photos!!!

  3. Last pic...if only you had turned more to your right you would have captured my building...
    Love your eye!


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