Back in October I ventured off to towards the 5th arrondissement, and headed towards the Grand Mosquée de Paris, and this weekend I had the pleasure of going back (and this time with my new camera!). The Grand Mosquée is often off the radar for tourists, and you may not have heard about it. Founded in 1926 after World War I, it is one of the largest mosques in the whole of France. Visitors are allowed to explore the mosque as long as they are respectful to worshipers attending daily prayers, and I am so grateful that we are allowed this opportunity.
Having never been inside a mosque nor experienced one before coming, I was in awe at the stunning decorations and how peaceful an environment it is. Decoration wise, one feels almost transported into another country, as it radiates a Moorish and Moroccan feel.
Upon entering the mosque, you are presented with the main courtyard, built from glistening white marble with arched walkways surrounding it. Taking centre place in this courtyard are two fountains situated on brightly coloured turquoise tiles, as if the ground were in fact flowing water. Although coming to the mosque during the winter months, one can only imagine how beautiful the greenery and flowers of this space must be in the warmer seasons. Adorning the walls of the mosque are vibrant geometric patterned mosaics, with columns covered in intricate carving and decoration.
After exploring the mosque, we then exited and headed towards the mosque’s very own café – which is a must to anyone visiting. Once again, you leave behind the streets of Paris and enter into a North-African oasis. Here you will be transported on an amazing culinary journey, as you can feast on a variety of Middle-Eastern pastries and mint tea. Having never experienced this kind of food before, I asked what the waiter would recommend, and was given a Moroccan almond shortbread crescent, which was absolutely delicious! Depending on how busy the tearoom is (when we went this weekend it was packed full of people), you can either sit inside or enjoy the open courtyard.
The Grand Mosquée is a unique experience, and one that I would definitely recommend. Just be aware that Fridays are a special day of prayer for Muslims, which means that the mosque is not open to visitors.
You can see some more photographs that I have taken at the mosque here on my flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roisingrace/sets/72157649055236378/