In the heart of the Latin Quarter of Paris, at the edge of the Jardin des Plantes botanical gardens lies a gem:
A beautiful tiled mosque spanning a whole block, with a Moroccan restaurant, courtyard tea room, library, souk, and a Turkish Hamman. All open to the public.
Paris is home to a large population of Maghrebians mostly coming from North African countries like Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Its influence can be seen in the many Moroccan food joints sprinkled around town. If you’re not familiar with Moroccan cuisine, Paris is a great way to familiarize yourself with it outside of North Africa.
The Mosque’s couscouserie is a good place to start. Expect steaming tangines served on copper tables and fruit spiked couscous with tender lamb.
You can sip mint tea, under the shade of the courtyard trees, or in its grand, Moorish cafe. Various “Oriental” pastries are served and Sheesha is also offered.
Its history is equally fascinating.
Originally gifted to the Muslims of Paris as a token of appreciation after some 100,000 French Muslims died battling the Germans in World War I, the mosque was later used as a refuge for European Jews.
Some were even given Muslim certificates, saving them completely from the realities of the holocaust.
The mosque is a great peek into the Muslim culture of France, reflecting a typical madrasa seen in the medinas of Fes, Morocco. Its atmosphere is welcoming and tranquil, and will leave with you with an appreciation and yearning to see more. I can’t think of a better way to wrap up a tour of the Marais district.
Grande Mosquée de Paris
2, Place du Puits de l’Ermite, Paris, France
Metro stop: Censier – Daubenton