Europe France Paris Travel

Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris

The Institut du Monde Arabe may not be on the list of places to see for a first time visitor to Paris but a visit to this architectural masterpiece has it perks.

Institut du Monde Arabe
Southern façade of the Institut du Monde Arabe

Occupying a prime location on the left bank of the Seine, the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) is an imposing structure that holds temporary and permanent exhibitions from the Arab world.

Institut du Monde Arabe
Exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe

Established in 1980 as one of François Mitterand’s Grands Projets, the building itself is in a work of art, with a construction of glass and steel in an Arabic latticework design by architect Jean Nouvel.

The southern façade is made up of mashrabiya or moucharabiehs (fr), mechanical irises or diaphragms designed to control the amount of light into the building.

Institut du Monde Arabe
Inside the southern facade

Institut du Monde ArabeInstitut du Monde Arabe
The mechanical irises seen from the outside (left) and from the inside of the building (right)

Access to the building is free after passing through an airport-style security check but with an inviting welcome. Inside, there are various exhibitions, an impressive library and a bookshop with literary works from the Arab world.

Institut du Monde Arabe
The library

Institut du Monde Arabe
The stairs

Institut du Monde Arabe
Steel and pipes

Institut du Monde Arabe
The industrial style ceiling

Institut du Monde Arabe
Exterior of the Institut du Monde Arabe facing the Seine

But there is more to the visit than marvelling at architecture and culture. Take the lift to the 9th floor and from the  terrace, you are treated to free panoramic views of Paris.

The IMA is located in close vicinity to Café Rallye Tournelle and La Tour d’Argent (review pending).

Institut du Monde Arabe
1 Rue des Fosses St-Bernard
Place Mohammed V
Paris 75005
Métro: Jussieu or Sully-Morland

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.