Institut du Monde Arabe

This “Institute of the Arab World” was built in the 1980s and was inaugurated on November 30, 1987 by the President of the French Republic, François Mitterrand. The institute is intended as a “cultural bridge” between France and twenty-two Arab countries.

From the top (ninth) floor there is a fine view of the River Seine and Notre Dame Cathedral. On the same floor there is an Arab restaurant of the more expensive sort.

Institut du Monde Arabe from the outside

Three floors of the institute are devoted to a museum of Arabic civilization and art. By Parisian standards this is a small and quite conventional museum, but interesting enough provided you have an adequate reading knowledge of French, because the labels and text panels are only in French and not in any other language, not even in Arabic. (Or has this changed since I was last there?)

The building of the Institut du Monde Arabe was designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel (born 1945), who also designed the stunning new concert house in Copenhagen, the unmistakable new/old opera house in Lyon, the controversial Philharmonie de Paris and the Musée du Quai Branly, also in Paris.

My photos in this post are from 2007. I revised the text in 2020.

See more posts on museums in Paris.

4 thoughts on “Institut du Monde Arabe”

  1. The restaurant on the roof has outdoor seating with a great view of Notre Dame and all you need to spend is a tiny amount for a cup of the best mint tea in Paris. The special art exhibits do sometimes have information in English, at least the one we attended did. It may be a change or it may be the exhibit curator. We were impressed by the number of elevators in the building.

  2. This was on my ‘must-visit’ list for our planned September trip to Paris as we have never been here, but sadly we have had to cancel that trip 🙁 Next year, hopefully …

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