Some distance removed from the Arabic-speaking inner-city enclaves of Barbès and Belleville, this vast Hispano-Moorish construct is nevertheless the spiritual heart of France's Algerian-dominated Muslim population. Built from 1922 to 1926 with elements inspired by the Alhambra and the Bou Inania Medersa in Fès, the Paris mosque is dominated by a stunning green-and-white tiled square minaret.
In plan and function it divides into three sections: religious (grand patio, prayer room and minaret, all for worshippers and not curious tourists); scholarly (Islamic school and library); and, via rue Geoffroy-St-Hilaire, commercial (café and domed hammam).
La Mosquée café (open 9am-midnight daily) is delightful - a modest courtyard with blue-and-white mosaic-topped tables shaded beneath green foliage and scented with the sweet smell of sheesha smoke (€6). Charming waiters distribute thé à la menthe (€2), along with syrupy, nutty North African pastries, sorbets and fruit salads.
|Venue name:||La Grande Mosquée de Paris|
2 place du Puits de l'Ermite
|Opening hours:||Tours 9am-noon, 2-6pm Mon-Thur, Sat, Sun (closed Muslim hols). Tearoom 10am-11.30pm daily. Restaurant noon-2.30pm, 7.30-10.30pm daily. Baths (women) 10am-9pm Mon, Wed, Sat; 2-9pm Fri; (men) 2-9pm Tue, Sun|
|Price:||€3; €2 reductions; free under-7s. Tearoom free. Baths €15-€35|
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